"That's our theme, 'There's no place like home ... for the holidays,' and that is how we feel," said Chamber president Linda Lewis. "We know people like to go to Birmingham to shop, but we want to promote the idea of shopping local. Let's keep the money in our community."
The hometown focus will begin Monday, Nov. 29 with the launch of this year's Chamber Checks initiative. Chamber Checks are gift checks that may be used at any business that is a member of the Chamber of Commerce of Walker County, which includes more than 200 businesses. The checks are available for purchase Monday through Friday at the Chamber office inside the Community Health Systems Activities Center in downtown Jasper.
"We had such a good response with the Chamber Checks, from citizens as well as our retailers, so we definitely wanted to do the program for a second year," Lewis said. "This is a great way to keep dollars in our county."
On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Lewis said "the tradition of Christmas continues" with the 2010 Walker County Christmas Parade. Entry into the parade is free. Participants only need to contact the Chamber to fill out a registration form.
The parade route will start at the parking lot of Walker High School, turn right onto 19th Street, pausing briefly at the CHS Building and at the Walker County Courthouse Square. The parade will continue by turning right onto 5th Avenue, right onto 18th Street, right onto Corona Avenue and left onto 19th Street, traveling back to the WHS parking lot.
Awards for the parade will be given in the categories of business, children, nonprofit and antique cars. Lewis said floats will be judged on creativity, originality and theme.
Line up for the parade will begin at 4 p.m. at the Walker High parking lot.
"We are already registering participants now, and we will continue to register up until the day of the parade," Lewis said. "This is the largest Christmas parade in the county, and we hope it continues to grow this year."
On Wednesday, Dec. 1, Lewis said the annual lighting of the Nativity scene at the Walker County Courthouse Square will take place at 5 p.m. The event is hosted by First Baptist Church of Jasper. Afterwards, a non-denominational choir celebration will take place at First United Methodist Church of Jasper from 5:30 until 6:30 p.m.
On Thursday, Dec. 2, the Chamber and the Downtown Merchants Association will host a new event, "Luminaries on Main Street." The gathering will take place on 19th Street and 3rd Avenue in Jasper from 5 until 7 p.m.
Lewis described the event as an old-fashion holiday shopping night with businesses decorated for the season, sidewalks lined with miniature candle luminaries, carolers, hot wassail and the sounds of holiday music.
"Every business downtown will be open during this time," she said. "It will serve as a meet and greet for residents and businesses as well as feature some great entertainment."
Lewis said entertainment will include hand bell choirs, the WHS jazz band, the Athletic Arts Center, square dancers, the drama team from Westside Baptist Church as well as other groups.
On Friday, Dec. 3, Lewis said the Chamber is asking all area business to decorate a tree or their building as a way to generate good cheer during the Christmas season.
"Throughout that week, we are trying to do things that show this is the place to be for Christmas," she said. "This week-long group of events is the Chamber's way of saying 'Merry Christmas' to the people of Walker County."