Contributed by Terri Dennison, Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
Last year, the Chamber took the traditional Shop Local Weekend (weekend after Thanksgiving) and expanded it to a full four-week promotional campaign. Because of concerns over Covid’s impact on our businesses, the Chamber developed several activities to increase visitation to our area in a safe, healthy manner. Building on the popularity of Lu Mil’s Festival of Lights, we created more excitement and traffic by adding a Tour of Churches, developing the Christmas Tree Grove under Christmas at the Farmers Market, collaborated on the Christmas Tree lighting on the Courthouse lawn, and coordinated the Lighting of the Lake at White Lake. This was all rolled up under the theme “Warm Southern Christmas”. We were fortunate to receive CARES funding to help support the effort last year.
This year, we will continue these activities as “Bladen County Christmas – 30 Days of Celebration” and add back in the Annual Christmas Parade. Unfortunately, we do not have the CARES funding from last year and must cover costs through sponsorships and activity fees.
The Chamber will coordinate the following events:
Fri., 11/27 – Sat. 12/18 ELF Scavenger Hunt among local merchants
Sun., 11/28 Christmas Parade, Santa at Farmers Market and Tree Lighting. Free event
Sat., 11/27 – Sat.,12/18 Christmas at the Farmers Market: having
continuous activity every Saturday. Free event.
Sat., 12/4 – Christmas Lighting of the Lake at White Lake. Contest
voting will begin after 12/4 and last until 12/17.
Sat., 12/4 Tour of Churches. Five churches in Bladen County
open their doors and tell their history. Benefits Empty Stocking Fund. Tickets are $7.
The overall promotion “Bladen County Christmas – 30 Days of Celebration” will market and promote all events during the period from Nov. 19 – Dec. 19, including Holly Jolly, Festival of Lights, Bladenboro Christmas Parade, and individual business open houses.
Our goal is to get residents to shop here and others to visit during the holiday period.
For more information, contact Dennison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 910-862-4368.