$2,500 in prizes offeredPunch card event begins with SNOW Friday
With over $2,500 in prizes being given away by area businesses this year as part of the third annual Holiday Punch Card Giveaway, The Washington Evening Journal and participating businesses are hoping to give at least 19 holiday shoppers a merry Christmas.
For the third year, The Journal and Main Street Washington have teamed up to bring the contest to area stores. The event kicks off Friday and runs through Dec. 24. During a drawing on Dec. 27, one grand prize winner will take home $850 in gift certificates. A second prize winner will take away $425 in gift certificates. Also, at least one winner per business will be awarded a gift certificate or merchandise from the drawing business.
“In the past years this promotion has been very successful,” Washington Evening Journal advertising director Julie Scott said. “It encourages people to shop locally and gives shoppers the chance to win some nice prizes.”
She said people shopping locally could find competitive prices, enjoy personal service and avoid the Christmas shopping crowds.
Both the 2010 and 2011 Washington Holiday Punch Card Giveaways encouraged shoppers to spend over $800,000 at area businesses. Both years thousands of cards were turned in at the time of the drawing.
For every dollar spent, the participating merchant will punch the card. The card can be punched at one store or multiple stores. Cards with $100 punched off will be entered in the retailer’s drawing box. Each participating business will also draw a minimum of one winner to be awarded gift certificates in addition to the grand prizes
Stores participating in the giveaway include: Ace-N-More; Gretter; Edge2: Hy-Vee/ Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits; Don’s Jewelry; Washington Evening Journal; Moore’s BP Amoco; “the original” Wine and Spirits; Archer Appliance Electronics; Pizza Hut; Panda Palace; Brown’s Shoe Fit; Country Market; Fareway; Verizon Wireless/Cellular Connection; Baby Steps/Chrystal Illumination; and Unwired.
The beginning of the punch card event will be in time for the Twilight Shop and Stroll event that will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 16, in which stores on the square will keep their doors open for additional hours. The Main Street elves will be out giving away gifts. The event kicks off the Main Street Washington holiday celebration Showcasing Nights of Washington (S.N.O.W.). S.N.O.W. committee chair Cari Widdle said that the Twilight Shop and Stroll would feature live entertainment and refreshments in many of the stores.
“Last year was the first year that we had it on Friday night,” she said. “In prior years we had it on Saturday, but the committee last year decided to try it on Friday. It was a great success, so we decided to try it again this year.”
Last year the committee had felt that the Saturday events and entertainment had done little to bring people downtown, so it decided to try to create its own “Black Friday” — the traditional first day of Christmas shopping — that was unique to Washington.
On Nov. 23, the annual holiday celebration kicks off at 4 p.m. with food and entertainment in the square. Hayrack rides around the downtown will begin at 5 p.m. A lighting ceremony for downtown buildings will be held at 5:30 p.m. Widdle said that this year, the lighting ceremony is being done in conjunction with Washington Relay For Life. Several cancer survivors will be honored on the band shell during the ceremony. Luminaries to honor cancer patients will also be part of the lighted parade.
“This is the first year we are partnering with Relay in this way,” Widdle said. “We hope to get more people involved and make it more special.”
The 16th annual lighted parade kicks off at 6 p.m. The parade will include Santa Claus’ entering town. At 7 p.m. Santa’s House will open in the former Washington Public Library. Santa’s House will be open at various times until Christmas.
Small business Saturday will be held Nov. 24. It kicks off at 8 a.m. with breakfast with Santa, which will be held in the United Presbyterian Church. The Jingle Bell 5k Run will be held at 9 a.m. Runners will start on the east side of the square.
The annual tour of homes, sponsored by the Washington Chamber of Commerce, will be held Dec. 1 and 2. The annual Marion Avenue Baptist Church Christmas play will be held Dec. 8 and 9.