Santa Claus is coming to town this Saturday as the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce celebrates the annual Holiday Mingle in downtown Lovell.
There will be a new wrinkle added to the Mingle this year – the first Festival of Trees.
Patterned after an event formerly sponsored by the Bank of Lovell, organizers say the event is a way to provide decoration and traffic for Lovell businesses, as well as funding for three local causes.
Committee members Gary Emmett and Sue Taylor said individuals and businesses are donating decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and centerpieces – 10 from each category – that will be offered to the public in a silent auction format. The highest bidder for a particular item will not only win that item but will choose where the bid money goes.
Money will go to three causes: the digitization of the Hyart Theatre, the North Big Horn Hospital Share A Stocking program and the Lovell Food Bank.
“Right now our goal is 10 trees, 10 wreaths and 10 centerpieces,” Taylor said, noting that the auction items will be placed at various business locations in town.
The festival will kick off at the Holiday Mingle this Saturday, Nov. 17, where a map will be provided for the locations and basic rules will be spelled out. Still seeking donations of items, Emmett noted that if someone wants to donate a tree only, “we can get it decorated.”
“We encourage individuals as well as businesses to donate and share their talent and benefit the community,” Taylor added.
The festival will run through Monday, Dec. 3, when the winners will be announced.
Emmett noted that a person can bid on an item and donate it to another business, organization or family in town if he or she chooses. He said donated and decorated trees must be artificial.
“We would really like to see this grow and we may add gingerbread houses at some point in the future,” Taylor said.
The Festival of Trees committee includes Emmett, Taylor, Natalie Wardell and Keela Mangus.
Santa Claus will once again greet children at the Holiday Mingle this Saturday in Lovell. The event begins with a matinee movie at 1 p.m. at the Hyart Theatre with the admission price being a canned food item for the firemen’s Christmas basket program. The featured movie will be “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” starring Jim Carrey.
Photos with Santa, sponsored by the Lovell Police Dept., will be offered from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Lovell Fire Hall, along with kids activities.
The annual lighting of the downtown Christmas tree will take place at 5 p.m. at the Downtown Mural Park, and members of the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce Board will serve hot chocolate. Santa will light the tree with his magic elf dust, and a drawing will be held for $500 worth of Chamber Bucks, which can be spent at local businesses.
Shoppers can sign up for Chamber Bucks at the matinee, the fire hall or just before the drawing at the tree lighting ceremony.
The annual event will conclude with living windows in downtown Lovell, where favorite Christmas characters will be brought to life. Many stores will offer specials on that day and evening.
By David Peck