By Thomas Nelson, firstname.lastname@example.org
ElfFest offered gift bags to the first 100 shoppers that came to the Chamber of Commerce office Saturday morning, and Immaculate Conception hosted a Little Elf Day at the elementary school.
The children that went to the Little Elf Day got to participate in an escape room-style game where they searched for Santa’s toy bag, and solved a puzzle by going around the school searching for clues.
Elf Fest was scheduled to follow the Holiday Lighted Parade on Friday evening, where beautiful weather helped entice a nice crowd to enjoy the half-hour parade featuring decorated and lighted vehicles and displays.
In the first five minutes of ElfFest Saturday morning, 57 gift bags were given away.
Robin Schwickerath arrived at 7:30 a.m. to get to the head of the line.
This is the third year in a row that Schwickerath has been in the front of the line for ElfFest and the first year she’s claimed the No. 1 spot for both ElfFest and ChickFest, another Charles City special shopping day, she said.
We’re “trying to get it to be more of a competition,” Schwickerath said.
Those in line also got to meet Nibblely Gingersnap, the elf, outside and around town during ElfFest.
Brian Feres, who has also dressed up for WitchFest, was dressed as Gingersnap, and greeted the children in line.
Schwickerath planned to hit all the hometown small businesses she could during ElfFest.
Leland Majewski, 18 months, was with Schwickerath at the front of the line.
ElfFest is part of a three-phase shop Charles City promotion that includes ChickFest, WitchFest and ElfFest, said Charles City Chamber of Commerce Director Mark Wicks. “It’s a fun day out,” he said about the individual events.
“We absolutely want to promote our small businesses. They’re the life and blood of our community,” Wicks said. “The best way to to combat online shopping as a business owner is to create a special experience for the shopper. That’s what ElfFest and these other promotions are about.”
Wicks encouraged groups or organizations that are holding special community-wide events to let the Chamber of Commerce know about them so they can help promote them.
“We got some deals and gift ideas out there,” Wicks said. “You don’t need to drive out of town to find wonderful Christmas gifts. We have them right here in town,” and the shopping dollars stay in the community.
ElfFest is sponsored by the Charles City Area Chamber of Commerce Retail Committee and participating businesses.