Mingle & Jingle celebrates small business Nov. 25

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Saturday marks one month until Christmas, and downtown Kilgore’s ‘Mingle & Jingle’ offers an early taste of the holiday.

“I think it embodies the excitement of Christmas,” says Kilgore Tourism Manager Ryan Polk. Meanwhile, “It’s kind of an entrance to the holiday shopping season.”

Traditionally falling the Saturday after Thanksgiving – and, consequently, a day after Black Friday and two before Cyber Monday – the annual Main Street celebration kicks-off at 6 p.m. Nov. 25. There’s no official end-time: downtown merchants and restaurateurs will welcome customers throughout the day ‘til’ they’ve had their fill of shopping and making merry.

“It’s a soirée,” Polk said, with food and libations, discounts and entertainment in different spots downtown. “Everybody’s social. To me, it’s like a holiday within itself,” as Kilgore residents and visitors dine and shop under the glow of the derrick stars above the World’s Richest Acre.

“It’s a very stress-free shopping event compared to Black Friday, department-store style shopping. There’s no shoving, no pushing. You can take your time, browse, get to know the store-owners, get to meet people that you’ve never met before.”

A social event, it’s also an opportunity to check names off the gift-list while supporting downtown merchants.

“That’s the ultimate goal, and you can enjoy yourself while you support them.”

Mingle & Jingle falls on ‘Small Business Saturday,’ an international effort. A registered trademark of American Express, the initiative was launched by the company in late-November 2010, a counter to Black Friday and Cyber Monday that soon spread nationwide and expanded into the United Kingdom in 2013.

“It was actually established to bring recognition to our small businesses in towns, especially in the downtown areas,” said Kilgore Main Street Program Supervisor Carol Windham. “It tries to get everybody in the spirit of shopping small, shopping in our downtown stores.

Linked with Mingle & Jingle, “It’s gonna be a great night. Hopefully it will be beautiful. Come and shop downtown.”

Mingle & Jingle marks a key anniversary for sisters Julie Beck and Carrie Jackson of J&Co. – they opened with the event in 2008.

“It’s a way for customers to celebrate with us and a way for us to give back to our customers,” Beck said. Theirs is one of several businesses to offer special food and drink for revelers. “People can come out and enjoy live music that night. It’s just going to be a giant party downtown,” with pop-up shops joining new stores and veteran retailers.

“We would welcome any groups that want to come and Christmas carol. Join the festivities.”

For more information about Kilgore Main Street Program’s holiday events, log on to KilgoreMainStreet.com or contact Windham at 903-984-5081. Find more upcoming activities via tinyurl.com/ChristmasInKilgore.

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