MUNCH TIME: Annual Christmas kick-off set for Friday and Saturday

Saturday, December 2, 2017 - 16:22

Winter officially begins Dec. 21, but anyone around these parts knows the season truly gets underway at Munch time.

This year, the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce’s 25th Annual Merry Merchant Munch and Winter Wonderland celebration will be held Dec. 1-2 in downtown Eagle River. With more than 50 merchants participating — plus the holiday tree-lighting and a visit from Santa Claus — the event promises to bring plenty of holiday cheer to chilly Chugiak-Eagle River.

“It is a wonderful way to celebrate the season and our community by sharing time, laughter and good fellowship with our friends and neighbors,” wrote chamber president Colin Fay in a welcome message posted in the chamber’s official guide.

The celebration is actually two big events rolled into one. During the Merry Merchant Munch, participants are invited to go from business to business to get their Munch “passports” stamped. Once a muncher gets 15 stamps, they can turn in the passport at Jitters in Eagle River to be entered to win prizes.

Even if participants don’t win prizes, they’ll still get plenty of chances to take home some tasty treats. That’s because merchants will be competing for prizes themselves by dishing out holiday goodies and decorating their businesses for the season.

This year’s Munch will take place from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 and from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, when the prize drawing will be held at Jitters.

But there’s more.

Starting at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, Town Square Park on Business Boulevard will host the Winter Wonderland and holiday tree lighting event. Local schoolchildren will perform Christmas and other holiday songs throughout the event, which will have plenty of hot chocolate and treats to go around. At 7 p.m., the guest of honor — Santa — will arrive with his reindeer, followed by the Christmas tree lighting.

The annual celebration is a joint partnership between the chamber and its participating businesses, the Eagle River/Chugiak Parks and Recreation Department, the Eagle River Rotary Club and Santa.

For more information, pick up an official guide at participating businesses or visit the chamber online at CER.org.

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