LINCOLN, Maine — A revitalized Lincoln Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce is planning a series of events from Nov. 5 to the week before Christmas to make the holiday season memorable — and profitable — for region merchants and customers, officials said recently.
“It really means that the Christmas holiday shopping season would start in the beginning of November,” Chamber President Cheryl Russell said. “A lot of times people start to shop on Black Friday but we want to encourage people to shop locally.
“We have really tried to create seven anchor weekends that will draw people into the area,” Russell added. “If you spend it online, nothing stays here. We are encouraging people to spend it here and think local first. Research has shown that for every $100 spent in local stores, $68 stays in the community through payroll taxes, payroll and other expenditures.”
The series of Home Town Holiday Experience events represents a significant uptick in Chamber activity and Chamber efforts to promote region businesses, Town Manager Lisa Goodwin said.
“They have a lot of fun events wrapped around the promotions,” Goodwin said.
Town and Chamber officials are working together to create several television and radio advertisements featuring town businesses and civic organizations, said Amanda Woodard, the town’s events coordinator.
The town is contributing as much as $5,000 to that and other holiday events, Goodwin said.
The Chamber-sponsored or organized holiday events include:
• A Girls’ Night Out at Mattanawcook Academy on Nov. 5 from 4-7 p.m. Sponsored by Penobscot Valley Hospital of Lincoln, the event will feature a fashion show, vendor fair and other activities. Hospital officials hope to sell 300 tickets for the event, Russell said, to buy specialty hospital beds.
• The Knights of Columbus Holiday Craft Fair from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 12 at the Knights of Columbus Hall on West Broadway. Vendors from across the region will be on hand.
• A community-wide business and holiday open house and holiday decorating competition on Nov. 18-19 at businesses and civic organizations around town. Included within that weekend will be the 6th annual Craft Fair on Saturday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lincoln Snowhounds snowmobile club on Town Farm Road. Proceeds will benefit the club’s scholarship fund.
• A Festival Under the Stars featuring Vendors in the Park, a Holiday Lights parade, retail events and the arrival of Santa all at Veterans Memorial Park on Main Street on Nov. 26 from noon to 9 p.m. The parade will begin at the Tim Hortons on West Broadway at 5 p.m. and proceed to Main and Adams streets.
• The Miss Lincoln Lakes Region Scholarship Pageant for women age 13 to 24 from Penobscot County will follow on Nov. 27 at 3 p.m. at Mattanawcook Academy. Pageant tickets are available at Possibilities gift shop on Main Street and Creative Bloom Florist gift shop on West Broadway.
Tickets cost $10 for adults; children age 12 and under pay $5. Potential contestants can contact Russell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• A Community Pajama Party on Dec. 2 will feature store workers and customers shopping and working in pajamas at participating stores around town. That will be followed by Breakfast at Santa on Dec. 3, a Saturday, at Mattanawcook Academy that morning and the holiday tree lighting from 5-7 p.m. that night at Veterans Memorial Park.
Participating businesses will open at 6 a.m. for pajama power shopping and cookie decorating with Santa.
• Patrons will be invited to Shop Late ‘Til 8 p.m. at businesses around town on Dec. 9, a Friday and Dec. 10. The various businesses will offer free chowder or chili. Most businesses in Lincoln typically close by 7 p.m., with many closing at 5 p.m.
• Ladies on the Loose and Men on the Run Shopping and other activities involving community businesses will occur on Dec. 16-17. Residents will be encouraged to leave holiday wish lists at participating businesses, Russell said.
Any businesses or volunteers wishing to participate in any of these efforts should contact Russell or Traci Gauthier, the Chamber’s executive director, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holiday events are subject to change. For updates, go to the Chamber website, lincolnMEchamber.org.