With Christmas rapidly approaching, the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce has announced its plans for the upcoming holiday season.

This year’s holiday theme is based on the popular Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”

The season will officially begin with a Christmas shopping promotion for Johnston County merchants starting with Small Business Saturday, Nov. 28, and culminating with drawings for cash prizes on Super Saturday, Dec. 19.

For each $10 spent with participating merchants, shoppers will be awarded Santa Bucks that can be entered into several drawings for cash, including a lucky $1,000 in cash Grand Prize winner.

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Merchants do not have to be Chamber members to participate and can sign up at the Chamber office.

Separate drawings will be held at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. in downtown Tishomingo Dec. 19 for thousands of dollars in cash give-a-ways, as well as other prizes.

Participants must be present at the drawings to be eligible to win.

Special events and shopping opportunities are planned for each weekend beginning with Small Business Saturday Nov. 28, encouraging shoppers to shop local, through , the final Saturday before Christmas.

On Saturday, Dec. 5, the Tishomingo Merchants Association (TMA) will host a Christmas cookie decorating party from 10 a.m.-noon at the Platinum Ballroom at The Ladysmith.  SJ’s Cruff will have photo opportunities with Santa Claus the same day starting at noon.

There will also be an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest hosted by the Tishomingo Merchant Association at The Ponderosa at The Pink Pistol that evening.

This year’s Johnston County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade led by Santa through downtown Tishomingo is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 12.  Parade entrants can sign up at the Chamber office.

Immediately following the parade from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Santa Claus will be at the Platinum Ballroom to hear children’s Christmas wishes, plus be available for photo opportunities.

In addition to the jolly old elf himself, a special treat will be an appearance by The Grinch to visit with those who may have been naughty instead of nice.

The fun continues the final Saturday before Christmas, Dec. 19,  when the cash drawings will be held and shoppers can find last minute Christmas bargains offered by local merchants.

In addition to the Saturday events, the Chamber is also having two Christmas decorating contests, one for businesses and one for residences.  Winners will be awarded first, second and third place plaques.  Participants must notify the Chamber if they want to enter.

Other activities related to the holidays will include the annual Christmas Tree Lighting program starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2 in front of the Johnston County Courthouse, followed by the “Living Windows Walk”  from 6:30 to 8 p.m. where downtown business windows will feature Christmas scenes with real people depicting various Christmas themes.

For more information or to participate in the “Living Windows Walk,” contact Janis Stewart at 371-8989.

Another popular annual event is Santa Night planned for Thursday, Dec. 3 from 5-7:30 p.m. at the Johnston County Fair Barn for children 10 years of age or younger.

Hosted by the Vet-Tech Department at Murray State College, the event will include Christmas carols, cookies and hot cocoa and Santa who will have small gifts available for children.

For more information on these and other activities related to the holidays, contact the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce at (580) 371-2175.

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