Mingle & Jingle kicks-off shopping rush

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After the past weekend’s season-opening shop-small soiree in Mingle & Jingle, the Kilgore’s Main Street District’s series of Saturday activities kicks-off Dec. 1 with Dashing Through Downtown.
It’s the first of four events hosted in December by downtown retailers and restaurateurs with help from the City of Kilgore’s Main Street Program.


“These Christmas events were started by the downtown merchants as a way to draw more business downtown through the holiday season,” said Sonya Waters, the city’s community relations manager. “It brings people to downtown Kilgore on a Saturday when they’re in the Christmas mood, and hopefully it will bring them into the stores that are open in downtown to do a little bit of Christmas shopping.”
In the build up to the holiday season, Waters and her team launched a new ‘Shop Small. Win Big.’ campaign at the beginning of November that culminated Saturday night during Mingle & Jingle. After several weeks of the promotion – encouraging shoppers to spend $25 or more at participating businesses to earn entries – the prize barrel had 248 Golden Tickets inside Nov. 24.
Looking ahead to December’s 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. opener Saturday, the key event in Dashing Through Downtown is a race including obstacles and holiday-themed tests for all ages in the Main Street District.
Ideally, Waters said, competitors will run in pairs to have the best chance of completing the various challenges spread along the sidewalks of North Kilgore Street and Main Street.
“We are also doing ornament-making,” she noted. “We will be having kids ornaments to help us decorate our mini-Christmas trees in downtown. We will also be offering wooden Christmas tree ornaments that you can hand-paint and receive assistance in lettering them.
“We’ll also have small Christmas games for people to participate in such as Pin the Nose on the Snowman.”
There will be small Christmas giveaways as well, Waters added, including ‘Christmas slime,’ marshmallows, candy canes and other simple treats.
The second Saturday event is Deck the Halls, set from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 8.
“We’re very happy to welcome back Santa Flavious with Joshua the Elf for a very special storytime at 2:30 p.m. We’ll also have Elsa and Anna from ‘Frozen’ available for photos,” Waters said. In the prime activity that day, “We’ll have the progressive Christmas cookies throughout downtown stores where people can pick up a Christmas cookie box and go collect cookies from downtown merchants.”
Deck the Halls also includes the concurrent ‘Geekmas Bizarre,’ an off-season activity for Kilgore Geekend. The “geeky holiday shopping” runs 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Learn more at Facebook.com/KilgoreGeekend.
“They’ll have a number of Santas – such as Deadpool Santa – roaming downtown,” Waters said, “and pop culture vendors.”
Jingle All the Way returns for the third Saturday in the downtown Christmas series, set 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 15 and once again featuring a petting zoo and pony rides among other activities.
The Pine Nutz brass ensemble (a.k.a. the Bier Nutz oompah band during Oktoberfest) will perform some holiday tunes and Santa Claus will be on hand for photos and wish lists.
The final installment in this year’s activities is Stuff the Stocking, aimed at last-chance Christmas shopping from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22.
For more information and updates on the various events, log on to KilgoreMainStreet.com.

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