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By Mary Jo Coulehan
Special to The PREVIEW
The town and its buildings were lit with holiday lights early this year to welcome our Thanksgiving visitors. However, more festivities are planned for the month of December, starting the first weekend in December.
This weekend, Dec. 5-7, kicks off the Holiday Palooza theme for the month, with something for everyone.
The Chamber of Commerce-sponsored ninth annual Parade of Stores runs from today, Dec. 5, through Saturday, Dec. 7. More than 35 stores will offer tax-free shopping. Some stores are offering even more discounts on top of the tax-free benefit. Shoppers can also enjoy the numerous open houses that will be held at various stores from the east side to the west side of town. Most stores are also offering late shopping hours until 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, so grab the girlfriends or family and head out to your favorite area of town to shop.
The Parade of Stores offers two fun shopping programs.
The first is the frequent shopper program. Shoppers can obtain a booklet and visit the stores on the list. When you are in the store, get your booklet stamped. If you obtain 15 stamps from various stores over the three-day period, you become eligible to enter the store giveaways. Each participating store will donate a wonderful gift. You can pick up your booklets at the Chamber of Commerce or at any participating store. When you are finished getting your card stamped, you can turn in your pamphlet at any participating store or at the Chamber of Commerce. Remember, the Chamber has a mail slot in the front door so you can always slide your pamphlet through the slot. We will collect and tally all the booklets on Monday, Dec. 9, and winners will be notified by Wednesday, Dec. 11. If you win a prize, you can go to the store where you won the prize to retrieve your goodie. Stores will not release the giveaway until they are notified. You do not have to purchase an item in order to get your booklet stamped.
The second part of the Parade of Stores Extravaganza is that, for every $10 that you spend in any of the participating stores, you will be entered into the Prize Package giveaway, which consists of out-of-town and local vacation packages. Imagine an expense-paid getaway in a popular southwestern town. Obviously, the more you spend, the more chances you have to win!
The beauty of the Parade of Stores is that you keep your shopping dollars local.
Children in Pagosa and those visiting need to get their Christmas wish lists together and visit Santa at the Visitor Center on Saturday, Dec. 7. Santa has blocked out time in his busy schedule to be at the Visitor Center from 3 to 5:30 p.m. Santa will be there to listen to all the children’s wishes and it will be a wonderful opportunity to get this year’s Christmas card photo. There will also be delicious cookies, hot drinks and party favors.
The Visitor Center will participate in a community lighting that begins on the west side of town and ends on the east end of town. Watch the lights go on along U.S. 160. The lights will come on around 5:15 p.m. at the Visitor Center.
Santa’s visit to the Visitor Center is a tradition for many Pagosa families. Make it your new tradition.
Another fun event this weekend is the Festival of Trees at the Ross Aragon Community Center. New this year will be a free public viewing today, Dec. 5, from noon to 7 p.m. You can put a bid on a tree if you are unable to attend the main event on Friday, Dec. 6. There will be hot beverages available as you vote for your favorite tree. Twenty trees decorated by non-profit agencies will be on display and the votes from the two days will move 10 trees into the live auction Friday. The trees range from the elegant to the whimsical and all trees will become a collectable holiday decoration for your home. You also have the opportunity to donate the tree to a family in need.
The evening’s festivities on Dec. 6 will also include a cash bar, hors d’oeuvres, music and a silent auction. The event begins at 7 p.m. with the live auction starting at 8. Advance tickets are $15 ($20 at the door) and can be purchased at the community center or from one of the participating non-profit agencies.
“Come on; It’s Christmas” is the theme for this year’s holiday concert presented by the Pagosa Springs Community Choir. Their concerts will be held Dec. 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday at 4 p.m. All concerts will be held at the Pagosa Springs High School. The range of musical talent in this vocal group is extensive and the songs will inspire you and get you in the holiday spirit. The concert is free to the public.
For the athlete, the Sweaty Santa 3K and 5K fun run/walk will take place Saturday, Dec. 7. Runners will begin at the Ross Aragon Community Center at 10 a.m. The race will take place sun, rain or snow, so be prepared to bring your snowshoes if necessary. There will be a prize for the best “Christmas Cheer” holiday runner or group. Registration is at the event only and finishers will receive a cool GECKO Christmas “ornament” medal made by the Pagosa Springs Elementary School art class.
“A Taste of Pagosa” cookbook will come to life as the Friends of Pagosa’s Multipurpose Ice/Skate/Music Pavilion offer the dessert section of the cookbook at a unique fund-raiser. Come out and enjoy the treats for $20 per ticket or enter your delectable sweet creation and have a chance to be in Pagosa’s cookbook. The event will be held at the Quality Resort on Friday, Dec. 6, from 2-4:30 p.m.
As you can see, there is no shortage of events kicking off the holiday season. For more information about events occurring in December, refer to the insert in this issue of The SUN. Additional calendar inserts can be obtained by stopping by the Visitor Center.