Posted 11/24/15 (Tue)
By Cecile Krimm
Crosby Area Chamber members hope an earlier start time and the re-emphasis of stroll prizes being on display through Saturday, will make for a more pleasant and relaxing Christmas shopping promotion.
This year shoppers will begin strolling at noon and the big prizes will be drawn at 7 p.m.
“We’re just trying to make it more convenient for people, to allow more time so events for children are happening a little earlier,” said Pam Urvand, committee chair.
The annual stroll, as conducted each year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, in the past has created a fun and somewhat frenzied dash through local stores by people searching out prizes corresponding to numbered buttons they purchased in advance.
And with an increased number of young children seeking out Santa and treat bags, finding a more relaxed way for Santa to interact with kids had grown as important as assuring the safety of children receiving rides on horse drawn wagons.
Two big changes to the event this year is that Santa will be available for photos and to distribute treat bags for two hours, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., in front of DK’s Plumbing on Main Street (one door north of Stems + Salvage).
“Selfies with Santa” are encouraged, so parents can immediately share the photographs of their children interacting with Santa.
During the same period, the horse drawn wagons will be picking up and dropping off children at the opposite end of the block -- north of J.D. Electric and Crosby Auto & Truck Parts/NAPA. Instead of traveling down the Main block, the wagons will head east to start each loop.
Urvand said this change is made for safety, “just to handle the crowd better and make it easier.”
An earlier decision to try to rope off The Journal/Dakota Theater block has now been abandoned and elementary singers will appear in front of Garbel’s Furniture at 6 p.m.
“It’s more like caroling, so it’s hard to put it inside,” she said.
With the forecast calling for temperatures between 12 and 28 degrees, it will at least be one of the more temperate stroll events in recent memory, and with no snow or ice yet accumulated on the ground, it should be easier to get around.
Urvand stressed that people may still go through stores on Saturday to look for their button numbers.
Frequently, she said, people come back on Saturday and find winners they missed on Friday.
As of Monday, a fair number of stroll buttons remained for sale, said Kay Garbel. Traditionally, buttons sell out by the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.
So far, said Urvand, the new 3/50 Project cards have been well received.
“People seem excited about it. I’ve stamped a lot of cards.”
This year, instead of signing up for cash prizes given out each week leading up to Christmas, retailers are stamping 3/50 Project cards each time a purchase of $50 is made. Once a card has stamps from three different businesses, it is entered into the weekly Crosby Bucks drawing.
“So far, I’ve heard positive things from the retailers,” said Garbel, but because it’s so new, she hasn’t had much feedback from customers yet.
Cards carry over from week to week, so if you turn in a card and don’t win the drawing the first week, your card can still be drawn later.
“All cards stay in for the duration,” said Garbel.
Retailers who have signed up for the 3/50 promotion so far are: The Bypass, Crafts 4 U, Crosby Auto & Truck Parts/NAPA, Crosby Self Serve, Ekness Super Valu, Hardware Hank, Henny’s Coffee, J. Co. Drug, The Journal, Pleasant Pheasant Fabrics, Shear Style, Sorum’s Westland Oil, and Stems + Salvage.
All Chamber member businesses are encouraged to offer the cards and may contact Garbel for more information.