Planners with the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce are preparing for the biggest shopping night of the year in Ponoka.
Almost Midnight Madness is set for Friday, Nov. 20 and and hopes are that it will bring in hundreds of consumers to Ponoka stores looking for the best deals out there. In preparation of the big night, Les Jaster, executive manager with the chamber, says there are special promotions with the Passport to Christmas program.
“The day of Almost Midnight Madness … is double stamp day,” said Jaster.
Those familiar with the passport know there are squares valued at $10 each and every time a person spends that much at a participating store, they receive a stamp. For midnight madness consumers will receive double the stamps for every $10 they spend.
There is a $1,500 gift prize to spend at merchants participating in the passport program. There are also prizes valued at $25, a $200 IGA gift card and a $100 gift card from Ponoka Live. To be eligible, consumers need to drop off their completed passports in specially marked boxes that Jaster collects. He will pick a random winner out of all the collected passports on Dec. 18.
The passport program has proved to bring in quite a large amount of money for a community of this size. Last year 14,000 passports were printed and Jaster says 60 per cent of them were filled. “This is big stuff in Ponoka, it usually goes really well.”
“Last year we tracked $1.8 million in sales,” he added.
Another incentive with the program is what Jaster calls “cut and paste” where shoppers can bring incomplete books to a participating merchant. If a person has enough squares in several passports to complete one, the merchant will cut and paste them together and get rid of the unused portion of the passport.
The reason behind the incentive, said Jaster, is it gives planners an opportunity to garner more information on the dollars spent in town.
Preparations are underway for the big night, which will once again feature a visit from Santa Claus, with gifts for kids, in a fire truck. There will also be a Christmas tree lighting but the location is yet to be determined.