Holiday Mingle planned for Nov. 19 in Lovell

Kids and shoppers, mark your calendars. Planning is well under way for the annual Holiday Mingle in downtown Lovell, which will kick off the holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 19.According to Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce office manager Victoria Dickson, this year’s Mingle has a few time changes but retains much of the traditional fun including a Jingle Jog, free matinee, Santa Claus, petting zoo, Chamber Bucks drawing, hayrides and downtown shopping.The fourth annual Jingle Jog fun run will begin the festivities at 10 a.m. with lineup at 9:30 a.m. at the downtown chamber office building. The chamber is again working with Big Horn Races to put on the run.The annual free matinee has been moved up to 11 a.m. at the Hyart Theatre featuring the holiday favorite “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” starring Jim Carrey.Food vendors will set up shop at noon near all of the downtown activity, Dickson said.treesrimeicehc1501_s_72_c_rSanta Claus will arrive an hour earlier than last year and will begin greeting children at noon at the Lovell Fire Hall. As always, free photos with Santa will be taken, sponsored by the Lovell Police Dept. The Town of Lovell will provide cookies and punch, and kids will also be able to join in crafts and sugar cookie decorating at the fire hall.Carl Jones will provide a petting zoo and offer pony rides from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., as well as wagon rides, if the weather permits.A representative of the North Big Horn Share A Stocking program will be on hand for those who wish to provide a toy for a child in need.Shopping and tree lightingAfter 4:30, Santa will make his way across the street to the Downtown Mural Park at Main and Nevada for the annual lighting of the town Christmas tree. A drawing for $400 in Chamber Bucks will be held at 4:45, and Santa will greet children and light the Christmas tree, using his magic fairy dust to bring the tree to life. Lance Stebner will be the master of ceremonies for the park festivities.The Chamber of Commerce will provide hot cocoa in the park, served by National Park Service employees, and hayrides will also be offered from the park.Local stores will be holding sign-ups for the annual Chamber Bucks drawing in the days leading up to the Mingle, and many stores will offer specials Thursday, Friday and Saturday before the Mingle to kick off the holiday shopping season.Many businesses will offer extended shopping hours for the Mingle, staying open until 7 p.m. to offer specials for shoppers. Some will have living windows and/or special decorations for the event. The Chamber will judge and offer a prize to the business with the best decorations throughout the month of November. Lovell Parks Director Gary Emmett said Christmas lights have been extended to the entire length of Main Street this year.There will be no live nativity scene at the Lovell Bible Church this year, but plans are to bring back the Bethlehem maze next year.

By David Peck