The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Jingle Bell Holiday features fun and food

Participants from last year’s Amazing Chase pose in their holiday-themed costumes. Photo contributed.

Grinnell is holding its annual Jingle Bell Holiday today from 5 to 8 p.m. The event is hosted by various shop owners around town and community members and students are invited to explore the town’s businesses during the holiday season.

The Jingle Bell Holiday has traditionally been a holiday shopping event. It is presented by Bill’s Jewelry, and sponsored by Grinnell College and the Grinnell Area Chamber of Commerce. During this event various businesses will have open houses to showcase their wares, fun kids’ activities and food. Many stores will be setting up tables with arts and crafts events for children, where they can make their own ornaments while sipping on hot chocolate or warm apple cider. Different forms of live music will also be performing in stores, such as the community band, carolers from the high school, piano players and others.

Participants from last year’s Amazing Chase pose in their holiday-themed costumes. Photo contributed.
Participants from last year’s Amazing Chase pose in their holiday-themed costumes.
Photo contributed.

“It will offer a great time for families coming to Grinnell. Various businesses will be previewing their gift ideas for Grinnell and give the chance for customers come visit stores they might not otherwise visit,” said Emily Counts, Tourism Director for the Chamber of Commerce.

The event starts at 5 p.m. with a tree-lighting ceremony by Grinnell Mayor Gordon Canfield on the town tree located at the northwest corner of Central Park. During this ceremony, Michelle’s Dance Academy will also be performing a Rockette-style dance for attendees. Additional features include photo opportunities with Santa Claus at Total Choice Shipping & Printing as well as free carriage rides throughout downtown Grinnell.

Bill Hammen of Bill’s Jewelry helped provide the funds and advertisements necessary to promote the event. He is most proud of how successful this family-friendly event has grown to become over the years. “I myself have an old Lionel train set I’ve had for years and a lot of kids love to come down and watch [the] train run,” Hammen said.

Not only for younger children, Jingle Bell Holiday also has some events for older children and students who want to compete for prizes. A holiday version of the Amazing Race, called the Amazing Chase, allows teams of two to four people to partake in a downtown scavenger hunt while wearing themed costumes. First, second and third place winners will receive $200, $100 or $50 of Grinnell Bucks—cash that can be used at businesses that are Chamber of Commerce members.

Though the Jingle Bell Holiday event is hosted by multiple stores downtown, Hammen notes that the event is not meant to sell products to attendees.

“It’s not really a selling event … it’s to get people used to coming downtown,” Hammen said.

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