Time for a fun sleigh ride: Shoppers were able to enjoy a fun sleigh ride at Jones Boys Western Wear during the Almost Midnight Madness sale event in Ponoka Friday

Time for a fun sleigh ride: Shoppers were able to enjoy a fun sleigh ride at Jones Boys Western Wear during the Almost Midnight Madness sale event in Ponoka Friday

Almost Midnight Madness launches Ponoka’s holiday season

An all-smiles Mayor Rick Bonnett, apparently relieved with Mother Nature’s cooperation in delaying the first major snow dump of the season

An all-smiles Mayor Rick Bonnett, apparently relieved with Mother Nature’s cooperation in delaying the first major snow dump of the season, appealed to all Ponoka residents on Friday, Nov. 21 to make use of the good weather to do their shopping tours in town and support local businesses.

After the Christmas carolers ended their mini-concert in front of the town hall, Bonnett lit up the town’s Christmas tree and officially declared open Ponoka’s holiday season and launched the Almost Midnight Madness sales event of 2014.

He thanked the Chamber of Commerce for organizing the commercial event for another year and thanked the residents who came out to see the deals.

Santa arrived by a fire a truck to give hugs to jubilant kids while donors flocked to Ponoka News office to support the town’s food bank, filling dozens of boxes with a variety of food items. More than 900 pounds of food and $45 in cash were donated within a period of two hours.

Thanks to warm weather, shoppers filled the downtown streets and checked shop windows and shelves inside the stores. No figures were available at press time as to how this year’s Almost Midnight Madness compared to last year’s in terms of business volume.

Elsewhere, there were sleigh rides for shopper families and many residents enjoyed the fireworks show.

See more event photos in this week’s paper.