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Snowflake Days coming to downtown Hastings

Downtown Snowflake Days is a new event that's aimed at getting people to the downtown area during the holiday shopping season, and to introduce people to some stores they may have never visited.

"It's something downtown hasn't done before during the holidays," said Lisa Swanson of Nicolai Marketing, the company organizing the event.

The event will take place from Dec. 10 through 13 and will feature special sales and promotions at many downtown businesses, a strolling Santa, an outdoor DJ, and a chance to win $200 in "downtown cash."

"The idea behind it is to create a little bit of holiday excitement throughout Hastings and to draw people to downtown," Swanson said.

Many participating businesses will be giving away free coffee, hot chocolate, cider and cookies during the hours of the events. Most have special promotions and sales going on too.

On Thursday Dec. 10, the event kicks off downtown at 5 p.m., and until 7 p.m., there will be a strolling Santa and an outdoor DJ downtown. The hours Friday are the same.

On Saturday Dec. 12, the CP Rail Holiday Train will be rolling into Hastings around 4:15 p.m. and the hours for the Downtown Snowflake Days will coincide with the train's arrival. The event goes from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Swanson said she hopes people will come downtown early and take advantage of the sales and promotions on Saturday before heading over to the Holiday Train.

During all four days of the event, the Downtown Challenge will be going on, which will give people the chance to win $200 in "downtown cash." Players can pick up a punch card at participating businesses, and they then must take it to three businesses they've never visited before and get their card punched.

When they have three punches, they drop the card off at one of the stores and it goes into a drawing for a $200 gift certificate that can be used at participating businesses. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening a little before 5 p.m., but participants need not be present to win.

Participating businesses include Second Childhood, A Scrapin' Time, the American Legion, Benny's Grille (formerly Second Street Coffee Shop), Berens Jewelry, Briar Patch and Town Cobbler, the Busted Nut, Creative Confectionaire, Divine Inspirations, Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce, the Levee Café, Lillian's, Lilypad Day Spa, Mississippi Belle, RJ's Tavern, Rokko's World, Spiral Natural Foods, State Farm Insurance, and Wants and Wishes.