Holiday Treasure Express planning includes parade, other festivities

Building on the success of last year’s Holiday Treasure Express campaign to boost holiday sales for local retailers, organizers are planning a kick-off parade and celebration in Margaretville for November 29.
Plans already in various stages of development include an afternoon parade down Main Street, culminating at the pavilion where a tree lighting ceremony will take place. Santa will greet the crowds and sit for pictures with the young set. Also in the pavilion, various displays and sales opportunities will be provided by the destination businesses participating in the campaign and sponsors.
The 2007 Holiday Treasure Express campaign involved 43 participating destination businesses in Andes, Arkville, Bovina, Fleischmanns, Halcottsville, Highmount, Margaretville and Pine Hill and 20 sponsoring businesses. Over 2,000 passports were given to local shoppers, which they filled with stamps from the businesses and became eligible for prizes. About 250 filled passports were turned in and four area shoppers won prizes valued at over $5,000. This aspect of the campaign will be repeated this year.
“We were thrilled with the response,” says Lauren Quarltere of Quarltere’s Garden and MarketPlace, who conceived the idea. “By expanding the festivities and creating an event that attracts more people to the area, we hope to see an even greater participation. It is all about enthusiasm and working together to do something great for the larger community that is our region.”
Joan Lawrence-Bauer, executive director of The MARK Group, recalls, “My father was one of the organizers of the parades that we had here in the 1960s. I remember the streets being so crowded that you could hardly move on Main Street. This is the kind of event we hope to recreate and The MARK Group is thrilled to be the primary sponsor.”

Event planner on board
The executive producer for the event is Michael Mathis, a professional event planner and Roxbury homeowner, who organizes such events as the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremonies in Oslo, Norway. Michael will be training a local resident to do event planning. “This gives us the chance to help the community in another way and provide the opportunity for someone with an entrepreneurial spirit to create a business for themselves,” says Michael.
In order to bring this event to life, a committee has been meeting for the last few months, including Bill Stanton, Margaretville Mayor, Iris Mead from the MARK Group, Peg Ellsworth from Roxbury, with the original organizers, Maggie Inge and Lauren Quarltere, serving as co-chairs. A grant from the O’Connor Foundation is providing seed money for this year’s event.
“It is so exciting to be part of the great team that is putting this together,” says Inge who is also spearheading the event in the pavilion. “Last year we generated over 2,500 shopper visits to local stores. We expect the parade to bring that number to the area for one day. Our dream is to have every single area business participate in some way that is beneficial to both them and the community.”
In order to get the word out, a series of mixers in area restaurants will be held in May and June. This will give retailers the opportunity to learn all about the campaign, sign up as a participating destination or sponsor and meet one another.
For more information, contact the following: parade information, Iris Mead, 586-3500; info on being a participating destination or sponsor, Maggie Inge, 586-1580.