Main Street Mingle has fewer events but more chances to win

David Peck

The annual Lovell Main Street Mingle Christmas kickoff celebration will retain the fun, new character of the 2019 event but will be pared down a bit due to COVID-19 restrictions, Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce manager Linda Morrison said this week.

Morrison said the Mingle, which takes place next Saturday, Nov. 21, will be missing two of the normal events. The Dauntless Dash, sponsored by Club Dauntless, has been cancelled this year due to COVID-19 restrictions and the free Christmas movie cannot be held because theater management believes the large number of kids who annually attend would overwhelm capacity restrictions and social distancing requirements at the Hyart Theatre.

But Morrison said there will be plenty of other fun activities up and down Main Street, including a chance for children to visit with Santa Claus at the North Pole via Zoom and many chances for shoppers to win Chamber Bucks, which are good at any chamber member business.

This year’s theme is “Believe in the Magic of Christmas,” and Morrison said that, while some of the fun elements of last year’s “A Whoville Christmas” will be retained, this year’s theme is a little more broad-based.

“Christmas means something different to everyone, and we just wanted to take a general view of Christmas,” she said. “People can make their own traditions. Some like the Grinch, others don’t. We’ll ask, ‘What is your favorite thing?’ The real meaning of Christmas is coming out with nativity scenes and the like. ‘Believe in the Magic of Christmas’ can cover so much.

“As we tried to decide what to do, we wanted a crowd but also to be COVID-19 safe. There will be activities in the stores and some take-home crafts. There will be an activity in each store.

“People can come in and try to find something in each store, kind of like Where’s Waldo. When they find it they’ll have something to take home.”

Participants can report to the downtown mural park at Main and Nevada to receive their instructions packet, which includes a list of participating businesses in the form of a Christmas tree. Instructions and a bag to hold items from each store will be handed out at the park.

Mingle schedule

Without the fun run and the movie, the Mingle will begin at 1 p.m. with games, giveaways and take-home crafts at participating businesses. Once people pick up their instructions in the form of a Christmas tree handout, they can get each ornament on the tree stamped, and if each of the 11 ornaments is stamped by Small Business Saturday on November 28, shoppers will be entered into a drawing to win one of three $50 drawings for completed handouts.

Stores are already taking entries for drawings, and the chamber of commerce has increased the drawing amount this year to help families and businesses during this challenging year, Morrison said, going from $1,000 awarded last year to $1,400 this year: $1,000 at the first drawing on November 21 and $400 at the second drawing on November 28.

Meanwhile, even Santa Claus is being careful this year due to COVID-19,  but children need not fear. Santa will be available via Zoom to greet them and hear what they want for Christmas. A Zoom link to the North Pole will be set up at the chamber office all afternoon.

Along with the virtual contact with Santa, families may pose for photos at a static Santa display
at Reasch Park next to Lovell Drug.

A snack shop will be set up at the Lovell Car Clinic where cookies and punch will be served and people can sign up to help families via the North Big Horn Hospital Share A Stocking program.

At 4:30, Santa will hop onto his sleigh and fly to Lovell, where he will be on hand to light the Christmas tree at Main and Nevada at 4:45. There, a drawing will be held for the first $1,000 in Chamber Bucks in the form of three $100 certificates, six $50 certificates, 12 $30 certificates and two $20 certificates, which are good at any chamber of commerce member business in north Big Horn County.

A person need not be present to win, but if the person whose name is drawn is at the drawing on the 21st, he or she will win an additional $10. Combined with the three $50 completed handout drawings and the $400 Chamber Bucks drawings on November 28, the chamber of commerce is awarding up to $1,780 to participants this year.

The tree lighting will include singing, and Nevada Avenue will be blocked off from Main Street to
the alley on the north side of Main.

Following the lighting, drawing and singing, late night shopping will be available from 5 to 7 p.m. at certain businesses. Area restaurants will also be open for dining throughout the day and evening. There will be no live nativity scene at the Bible Church this year, but there will be a petting zoo next to Johnson Home and Land, Morrison said.

There will also be live singing at Valley Flowers during the Mingle.

See the complete schedule in this week’s Chronicle.

The November 28 drawing will be held at the chamber office that afternoon. To be drawn are one $100 certificate, two $50 certificates, six $30 certificates and one $20 certificate, plus the three $50 certificates from among those who completed their handouts.