The sales prices are in and Ponoka’s businesses are ready for a night of shopping during Almost Midnight Madness.
Hosted by the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce, the streets of Ponoka are expected to fill up Nov. 23 not long after the fireworks light up the night at 6 p.m. by the north bridge.
“It is the shopping event of the year for Ponoka merchants,” explained Lana Johnson, executive manager of the chamber. “We kickoff the event with tree lighting.”
Tree lighting is at 5:30 p.m. at the Ponoka Town Hall. Santa Claus gets a special ride from the Ponoka Fire Department to greet kids after the tree lighting and free hot chocolate will be ready for everyone to warm up.
The event is sponsored by chamber members and the Town of Ponoka. The main goal is to get people shopping locally.
“We want the people to be in the stores supporting our local businesses,” Johnson stated.
One of the things Johnson enjoys about Almost Midnight Madness is the energy in the air. “I enjoy the atmosphere because everyone seems to be excited,” she explained. “It’s good energy because they’re (shoppers) excited they got a good deal.”
She believes the night not only helps businesses but the general prosperity of the community since money stays here. “Whenever possible, shop local.”
Ponoka News manager Judy Dick said the event has been happening for more than 10 years. The paper works closely with other businesses that donate gift certificates. Shoppers who bring a non-perishable food item or a donation to the Ponoka Food Bank receive a gift certificate from the Ponoka News’ Christmas tree, Dick explained. More than 1,000 pounds was donated to the food bank last year.
“It is busy and we would like to see it busier,” she stated.
She feels the fireworks are a fitting start to the night, which has businesses open until 11 p.m. Dick expects to see shoppers from communities such as Lacombe and Rimbey, as well as Tees, Clive and Bashaw. “It’s widespread…the stores put on great specials for the evening.”
It is another way to bring the community together, she said.