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Light up Pagosa for the upcoming holidays

The winter holiday seasons are some of the best times of the year for tourism in Pagosa Springs.

With snow already on the slopes at Wolf Creek and several lodging facilities sold out, we are anticipating a busy Thanksgiving holiday, as well as a busy Christmas holiday.

Last year, the Chamber received a fair number of phone calls with callers commenting on how “dull” the community looked, with decorations in and around town either absent or being put up rather late in the season.

Typically, the Chamber Visitor Center lights up the first weekend in December in conjunction with other events. We’re going to stray away from that tradition this year and try something new.

The Chamber is working in conjunction with some downtown businesses and we’re hoping the downtown area will be “lit up” for the holidays by Wednesday, Nov. 23, as a welcome for our Thanksgiving visitors.

We would like the community to be inviting and festive, with an air of activity. With this plan, the downtown area will also be decorated for the Parade of Stores. Image is a big part of marketing, so we want to market our community as “Open for Business.”

We will notify the community if we schedule a community lighting on Wednesday, Nov. 23. We would like to resurrect the business lighting competition which will be judged later on during the month of December. But don’t let that deter you from decorating by Thanksgiving. Pay attention to your upcoming Chamber e-mail blasts and future articles for more specifics on the lighting contest and other holiday activities.

The Chamber will sponsor the Parade of Stores weekend, host Santa at the Visitor Center, and relight the Visitor Center on Saturday, Dec. 3. Don’t worry, there will still be lots of the activity that Pagosa is famous for that first weekend in December. However, we want to present a unified front of hospitality and a welcoming invitation to folks to visit and revisit our community during this holiday and winter season. We don’t want people coming to our community, then commenting on how boring or non-festive we are. We want to put our best foot forward. We appreciate any assistance your business can lend during this holiday season. If you have any questions, contact me at the chamber at 264-2360.

Raffle tickets

This is the last week to purchase your Pagosa Perks Raffle Tickets for the raffle drawing on Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Winners of the raffle will collect $1,000, $500 and $250 in Pagosa Perks, which are accepted all over town. The raffle tickets are only $5 each or five for $20. Just imagine winning something in the raffle and how you can spend the money locally — just in time for the Parade of Stores. Groceries, gas, dinners, home improvement, furniture, equipment, tires, car repair, a donation to your place of worship. The list goes on and on, with numerous options at your disposal should you win this raffle. The raffle is a fantastic way to keep our spending dollars local and support community businesses. It also gives three lucky winners extra money for the holidays ... or the Perks are good for a whole year.

Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce or from any staff or board member until Wednesday, Nov. 16. On that day, we will draw for the winners at the SunDowner at Plaza Grille at 6 p.m. You can also purchase raffle tickets at the SunDowner. You do not need to be present to win the raffle. Don’t miss this opportunity to help out our local businesses and a chance to win Pagosa Perks.

Remember, if you are a business owner, Pagosa Perks should be treated just like cash or a traveler’s check. If you do not have your sign that says “Pagosa Perks Welcome and Accepted Here,” we will be happy to get you one. Pagosa Perks also make a great gift idea for year-round employee incentives, bonus ideas and gift giving for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list, since they choose where to use the certificate. Pagosa Perks can be purchased only at the Chamber of Commerce. If you need more information on how to handle Pagosa Perks, contact the Chamber.

Parade of Stores

The first weekend in December marks our annual Parade of Stores Shopping Extravaganza.

Retail merchants throughout the community will offer No Tax shopping or special discounts. It is the perfect time to shop for the holidays or purchase that special item you have been waiting for. And you keep your dollars local.

There are two aspects to the Parade of Stores. First is that we will issue “frequent store” cards. There is no purchase necessary; however, you do have to get your card stamped by a certain number of stores in order to be entered into the prize drawings. Each store — and there are over 40 — will donate a gift or gift certificate. There are over 40 chances to win a prize.

Second, for every $10 spent in a participating store, you will issued a ticket and be entered to win one of two vacation getaways and a spa day here in Pagosa Springs. For example, if you purchase a $100 item, you will have 10 chances to win one of the giveaways. This event is just another way to support our local merchants.

We have added a shopping day this year so the event will be held from Thursday, Dec. 1, to Saturday, Dec. 3. Posters will announce participating stores. You can pick up your frequent store card at the Chamber or at any of the participating stores, and you can turn your cards in at any of the stores.

This event would not be possible without the participation of our local merchants, and we appreciate all their support and involvement. For more information on the Parade of Stores Shopping Extravaganza, contact me at the Chamber.

Tuscany early bird prices

In March 2012, you can join other travel enthusiasts and visit beautiful Tuscany, Italy. This nine-day trip includes airfare, transfers, hotel accommodations, daily breakfast and several dinners and receptions. You will enjoy tours of Florence, Pisa, San Gimignano, and leisure days or optional nearby city tours. The beauty of this trip is that you will be in the same hotel for seven days. The early bird price is $2,499 and is extended until the end of November. There is also a payment schedule so that all the money is not required up front.

The Pagosa Chamber has joined forces with the Durango and Cortez Chambers to offer this Tuscany trip under the direction of Chamber Discoveries Tour. You can pick up the itinerary at the Pagosa Chamber, or contact Rita Simon at the Durango Chamber for more information. But wait just a few more days, since Rita went on the Chamber Discoveries trip to Ireland and will be returning shortly. This is a fantastic trip, and we hope some Pagosa residents will be able to enjoy Italy during the month of March.

Membership

We welcome two businesses this week to the Chamber.

Much needed in this community is our own TIPS trainer. What is TIPS, you ask? TIPS is an alcohol serving training system that is a must for restaurants and bars and even non-profit organizations that put on special events. Vicky Moore is the owner and trainer. Vicky has years of experience in the restaurant and bar industry and is a wealth of knowledge as a trainer. To get your staff at your bar or restaurant signed up, contact Vicky’s TIPS at 398-0493.

We also welcome Dusty Pierce with Pagosa Springs Frame and Finish. Dusty is a longtime resident with a fantastic reputation as a quality builder here in our community. Dusty also serves as president of the Builder’s Association and is knowledgeable about all aspects of building and permitting in Pagosa Springs. For renovations or building, contact Dusty at 946-3350.

Our renewing members this week include Quantum Travel Group; Riverside Health Practices; Shang Hai Chinese Restaurant; Subway West; MTECH Internet Marketing; and the Aspen Springs Metro District. Our Friends of the Chamber include Laquita Johnson, Ron and Windsor Chacey, and August Vanderbeek.

Don’t forget to head over to the Ross Aragon Community Center on Friday morning, Nov. 11, for the annual Veteran’s Day Celebration hosted by the eighth-grade class, the community center and the Town of Pagosa Springs. It is a free and fantastic way to remember the reason for this holiday.

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