Main Street event organizers set rules for 2017 holiday race

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Locals will be ‘Dashing Through Downtown’ again Dec. 9 as retailers and restaurants keep residents engaged in Kilgore’s Main Street District during the holiday season.

Today (Dec. 2) features ‘Deck the Halls’ from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. downtown, with a variety of discounted decorations spread throughout downtown retailers and restaurants along with several crafting stations for visitors to make their own Christmas décor.

The second Saturday of December is ‘Christmas Cookies with Santa,’ featuring a “progressive cookie hunt” at 11 a.m. and other activities throughout the day.

In the cookie search, free to all comers, downtown visitors can pick up a collector’s box at J&Co. on North Kilgore Street along with a list of participating merchants: each will offer free homemade cookies to visitors shopping throughout the Main Street core.

The second annual Dashing Through Downtown race begins at 1 p.m. next Saturday and co-organizers Julie Beck and Carrie Jackson of J&Co. encourage participants to come decked out in their favorite Christmas pajamas and ugly Christmas sweaters.

“I loved seeing all the pajamas last year,” Beck laughed. “We want to encourage that behavior.”

While 2016’s event was a race and scavenger hunt, this year sprinters will face ‘12 Challenges of Christmas’ they’ll have to complete as they compete for a basket of gift certificates and merchandise contributed by downtown businesses.

“We’re always striving to make thing more fun,” Beck added.

The rules for the competition are simple: participating racers must register at J&Co. for their race instructions and directions to the starting line. Runners will receive the rest of their materials right before the race begins at 1 p.m.

From there, Jackson said, they’ll dash to businesses along North Kilgore Street and Main Street to face a challenge at each, ranging from wrapping a gift to singing a Christmas carol, trimming a tree and stuffing a stocking. At one station, competitors will be required to name at least five of Santa’s reindeer; at another, they’ll tackle a Christmas word scramble.

Elsewhere, runners will decorate a Christmas cookie. At another stop, they’ll have to name two downtown stores and two downtown restaurants. Throwing a snowball through a wreath at one of the 12 stations, at others they’ll dance like an elf, search through reindeer corn for a Christmas bauble or leap over a Yule log.

The 12 challenges don’t have to be completed in any particular order, Jackson noted: she expects racers will want to spread out along the competition route depending on their race strategy.

“The challenges will not begin until 1 p.m.,” Beck emphasized, and racers will have to visit each one and complete it in order to qualify for the prize – in addition to the first place gift basket, ribbons will be awarded to the top three finishers.

There’s no cost to compete and all ages are welcome to take part so long as they register in time and begin at the starting line when the clock strikes 1 p.m.

Later in the day, Santa will visit downtown for storytime at 3 p.m. At 5 p.m. visitors can deliver their Christmas wish list and have their picture made with the Jolly Old Elf in a photo-spot crafted by Charlie Walker.

For more information, following ‘Christmas in Kilgore’ on Facebook.

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