November 2012 A month of giving thanks It’s common these days to see large flocks of wild turkeys along highways and back roads. The awkward birds are relatively new inhabitants of the landscape and seem to be thriving. Seeing them reminds us Thanksgiving is just ahead and we have much for which to be thankful. For many of those fortunate enough to live here year round, the days ahead are filled with preparations for the firearms deer hunting opener. Hunters unpack their gear and kitchens warm from the steam of boiling pots and heated ovens. Some prepare for the arrival of family and friends for the opener. Others cook and bake for church basement feasts of chili or turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and pie. After the final “harvest” of the season, quiet descends. You can’t measure it or take a picture of it or even really describe it, but the true quiet of the north woods brings a certain calm to hectic days. And it’s always a good time to head north to enjoy the outdoors, relax or enjoy some local culture. There’s lots to see and do. Jingle Bells tickets are now in most stores in and around Park Rapids. This holiday season’s Jingle Bells Sweepstakes will ring in with better odds and more winners. The Grand Prize will be $5,000 cash with 10 more chances for local shoppers to win a $500 prize: $250 cash and $250 in Chamber Bucks. Shoppers will receive one ticket per $10 purchase up to a maximum of 10 tickets. The Jingle Bells Drawing & Gala Celebration starts at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 at Century School in Park Rapids with music, food and beverages. Santa will be on hand to take those last-minute requests and merchants will be giving away door prizes, too. Merchants welcome early shoppers to savor the hometown-style atmosphere you will find downtown where personal service, free gift wrapping and friendly smiles await as you fill those Christmas wish lists. The tradition of hosting craft shows for “hunting widows” continues with the Hubbard Holiday Boutique Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Hubbard Community Center and the Peppermint & Pinecones craft show Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10 at Century School in Park Rapids. The Arts Downtown Park Rapids series will continue Thursday, Nov. 15 in downtown Park Rapids. This event is designed to bring audiences to see and hear visual artists, musicians, writers and other artists in businesses in downtown Park Rapids on the Third Thursday of the month. A schedule will be available at downtown businesses and the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber office as well as on the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association website (www.parkrapidsdowntown.com). The Park Rapids Community Band will bring in the spirit of the season at a winter concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18 at the Area High School Auditorium. Another activity sure to bring smiles is Park Rapids’ annual Hospice Light Up a Life tree lighting on Main Street the Friday after Thanksgiving. This tradition comes with caroling, a Santa visit and merchants offering hot cider and other treats in their stores as part of a Yuletide Sampler, starting at 5 p.m. A Live Nativity is planned with two performances prior to the tree lighting which starts at 6 p.m. Once lit, the giant tree stands as a symbol of small town cheer and good will, lighting the way to a New Year. Many other activities and seasonal events are on the November calendar. The Chamber Website www.parkrapids.com has all the information you need to put together a memorable vacation or weekend visit. If you want help or have questions, call our friendly staff at 800-247-0054 to learn more.