With less than three weeks left in the holiday shopping season, it’s time to make the gift list and check it twice.
But instead of making the annual pilgrimage to the mall to buy gifts, the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce is encouraging locals to keep their dollars local, too.
The chamber’s third annual Christmas Stroll and inaugural Holiday Market, featuring local merchants and restaurants, will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in Richmond Hill.
More than 40 businesses have already signed up to take part in the event, which is intended to promote Richmond Hill merchants and encourage local spending during the holiday shopping season.
“We wanted to do this to persuade people to spend their dollars in Richmond Hill,” said chamber director and event organizer Brianne Yontz. “Everyone loves having shops and restaurants in town, and in order to keep them we need to support them.”
Participating businesses will be marked with red and green balloons on the day of the stroll, and many will feature special sales and promotions for shoppers.
In addition to the brick-and-mortar locations around town, the stroll, in partnership with the Richmond Hill Farmers Market, will feature booths by home-based businesses and vendors at the first-ever Holiday Market portion of the event in the J.F. Gregory Park pavilion.
As an incentive for shoppers, the chamber will hold a drawing at the end of the event. Shoppers who spend more than $50 with participating merchants on the day of the stroll can present their receipts for a chance to win one of two $250 Visa gift cards.
Individuals who spend more than $10 will receive a complimentary picture with Santa, who will be on hand from 2-4 p.m. in the pavilion. Photos will be taken and printed on-site by the Richmond Hill High School yearbook staff. Pictures are $5 for those without receipts of purchase.
The farmers market will offer its usual fare to stroll shoppers, as well as homemade holiday food, candy and crafts. Free children’s activities, such as bounce houses, a beanbag toss and miniature golf, will also be available.
“It’s a fun day for families to get out and shop around,” said Yontz. “It doesn’t cost anything to just walk around and get in the holiday spirit.”
To see a map of all participating locations, turn to page XX in this issue of the Bryan County News.
For more information, visit the chamber’s website, www.rhbcchamber.org, or call 756-3444.