Santa Claus is coming to town this Saturday to visit boys and girls during the revamped Main Street Mingle in Lovell.
The annual Lovell Main Street kickoff celebration will feature an exciting new look this year as the event moves from the fire hall to stores and businesses downtown.
This year’s Mingle will carry the theme “A Whoville Christmas” based on the popular Christmas book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss. The event is sponsored annually by the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce, which is offering $1,000 in chamber bucks for downtown shoppers.
According to chamber office manager Linda Morrison, the idea for this year’s Mingle was to move the event out of the Lovell Fire Hall, where it has been held for many years, and into a number of participating businesses so that they may experience greater traffic flow and visibility, and also better deal with the standing and waiting for Santa that families experienced in previous years. And, she said, it will just be a lot of fun.
“Our community has a lot to offer for Christmas shopping,” Morrison said, adding that she embraced the idea to move games, crafts, activities and refreshments out of the fire hall and into the stores to make the Mingle more fun and help the business community.
“Shopping at home is not only convenient, it’s supporting your friends in our community,” she said, noting that she has always believed that stores in north Big Horn County have a lot to offer shoppers if they only knew what was available.
“That’s why we’re doing this,” she said. “People don’t know what’s in our stores. We want people (during the Mingle) to come in and look around while you’re having activities with the kids and see what they (stores) have.
“These are the businesses that support your kids in athletics and other activities. Why wouldn’t you want to support them?”
There will be no activities in the fire hall this year, Morrison said. Instead, the traditional activities and some extra ones will be spread throughout the business community.
“We want people to come down and eat, too (at local restaurants), and enjoy the activities,” she said. “There will be an activity in every participating store. And besides that, the town is going to be decorated to the hilt.”
Fun run first
The Main Street Mingle Saturday will begin with the Dauntless Dash fun run and walk at 8:30 a.m., sponsored for the second year by Club Dauntless.
The Dauntless Dash will feature a 5K run and one-mile run/walk starting from the Lovell Fire Hall.
There is a $10 fee to enter, and runners and walkers are encouraged to show up around 8 a.m. to register, organizer Stacy Bair said. The 5K will go east on Third Street, then one block north to Second Street, west to Hampshire, south to Main and up Main Street east to Pennsylvania, north one block and west back to the fire hall on Third, Bair said.
The mile will run west on Third to Shoshone, south to Main, east to Quebec, north to Third and back to the fire hall.
Prizes are offered for anyone who brings a grandparent, and all participants will receive a souvenir Club Dauntless mug. There will be a hot chocolate bar at the end of the race.
Movie and activities
The free movie “The Grinch” will play at the Hyart Theatre at 11:30 a.m., ending about 1 p.m. As the movie ends and moviegoers gather outside the Hyart, firemen will take Santa Claus down Main Street on a fire truck, hoping to avoid the dastardly Grinch, who may be lurking on Main.
Santa will then take his place at Big Horn Federal for “what I want for Christmas” wishes and family photos from 1:30 to 4 p.m. A representative of the North Big Horn Hospital Share A Stocking program will also be present at Big Horn Federal, Morrison said.
A variety of Whoville activities will be featured in the various businesses from 1 to 4:30 p.m. including games, a petting zoo, special hair color spraying, contests, giveaways, face painting, photo cutouts of Whoville characters, crafts, cookies and punch, cider and soup.
Some of the highlights include a petting zoo next to Johnson Home and Land, fun hair spraying at Kurt’s Cuts, face painting and soup at Lovell Car Clinic as well as cider and coffee provided by St. John’s Lutheran Church, fun photos at the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce office, 12 Days of Christmas Kindness at Lovell Drug, Christmas chatterboxes at Valley Flowers and a “pin the Grinch’s heart” game at Wild Edge.
See a map and ads in today’s Chronicle for complete details.
Santa will make his way to the downtown mural park by 4:45 p.m. and will light the community Christmas tree with his magic fairy dust, after which there will be a drawing for $600 in chamber bucks that can be used at any chamber of commerce member business. There will be a second drawing for $400 in chamber bucks on Saturday, Nov. 30 – Small Business Saturday.
Hot chocolate will be served at the park, as well, and Lovell Elementary School students will lead Christmas caroling.
The Lovell Bible Church will present a live nativity from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and some businesses will offer late night shopping from 5 to 7 p.m., Morrison said.
The Lovell Craft Bazaar will also be held Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the community center.
For more information, call the chamber at 548-7552. Morrison said it has been many years since she’s seen this much excitement for the Main Street Mingle.
By David Peck