The holiday season has begun in Portland with several businesses scheduling open houses. The Portland Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Shop Local Passport activity began on Nov. 16 and they had an open house on Nov. 17. 

Small Business Saturday will be Nov. 28 which is a national day to urge shoppers to support local small businesses. Other community activities include the Christmas Festival, city Christmas parade, and the annual tree lighting scheduled for Dec. 5.

Those wishing to participate in the passport activity can pick up a passport at participating businesses and at the chamber. Participating businesses are listed on the back of the passport. Participants collect stamps by making a purchase or paying for a service at those businesses.

Each stamp on the passport gives the participant one chance to win a prize. The more stamps you have the better your chances to win. The event will go from Nov. 16 through Dec 14. Once you have completed the passport you can drop it off at the chamber office, if closed it can be put in the mail slot. The entire passport does not have to be completed to be turned in. Prizes will be drawn on Dec. 15. The grand prize is $250.

Chamber Events Coordinator Kristen Daughtry said, “This is the third year we have done the Shop Local Passport, and we have the most businesses participating this year that we have had (24). There’s something for everyone whether it’s supporting a local restaurant, getting your dog groomed, shopping for Christmas presents or decorations, and more.

“We want to encourage everyone to shop and support local. This has been a tough year for everyone including local small businesses. We encourage people to shop local as much as possible to support these businesses that support the community.”

The Shoppes at Occasions held a three-day open house on Nov. 5-7. According to owner Jaska Collins, the shops were full and several customers drove as long as two and three hours to attend after following Facebook posts about the shoppes. 5-Chefs served lunch on Saturday and quickly ran out of the special for the day.

Collins said, “The parking lot has been full. People have come in with smiles on. They are wearing masks, but that has not deterred from their shopping. We’ve had Christmas music playing. It seems they are walking out happy they came.”

Church events are still in the planning stages due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

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