Downtown Arkadelphia will sponsor an innovative decorating contest to encourage retailers and other downtown businesses to put a little extra sparkle in their holiday decorating this year.

Downtown Arkadelphia will sponsor an innovative decorating contest to encourage retailers and other downtown businesses to put a little extra sparkle in their holiday decorating this year.
According to Brooke Gregory with Downtown Arkadelphia, “Be the Light” is a holiday decorating contest that will encourage businesses to light up downtown.
“More importantly it’s a way to give back to the community during the holiday season,” said Gregory.
According to Gregory, Claire Gehrki of Knit Unto Others presented the idea for the contest. Gregory explained that the way the contest works is simple.
“Each participating business decides which nonprofit or charity they would like to support. By putting up Christmas lights, each business is ensuring the nonprofit or charity of their choice wins at least $200,” Gregory explained.
Gregory is hopeful that the businesses and nonprofits will work together to make each storefront amazing.
The contest categories include: window decorations, outdoor displays, and use of lights. The category winners will each receive $500 and the overall winner will receive $1,000 for their nonprofit or charity.
As of Thursday afternoon, the list of participating businesses and their charities included:
• Java Primo--Noon Rotary
• Mary and Martha's--Sunrise Rotary
• Print Mania--CASA
• Group Living—Group Living
• 67 Grill--Malone Child Safety Center
• Gossip Shop--Humane Society
• Clark County Library--Library
• Shuffield's--Little Free Pantry
• Christi's--CONE Foundation
• Nutrition Den--CADC
• Alliance Insurance-JA
• Art Center—Art Center
• Southern Bancorp – Arkadelphia Community Foundation
• Slim & Shorty’s
• Take a Load Off
• Southwest Sporting Goods
Gregory noted that more business owners in the downtown area are being contacted.
Decorations must be in place by the Christmas Open House event, which is scheduled for Sunday, Nov.19. Other holiday events are planned for Downtown Arkadelphia during the week after Thanksgiving and the first week of December.
“This event is a win-win for everyone,” said Gehrki.
“We hope to encourage local residents to come downtown to look at decorations, shop, and eat locally,” she added.
According to Gregory, the Be the Light Celebration is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m.
“We will be awarding the prizes, showing a Holiday movie, and hopefully having a few choirs come and sing some Christmas Carols,” Gregory said.
The Downtown Arkadelphia group strives to foster small business growth and downtown revitalization through events, promotion and façade grants.
“We hope that this event is something that can grow and be a beacon for tourism during the holiday season,” said Gregory.
Business owners who would like to sign up can Gehrki of Knit Unto Others at (870) 245-2552 or Marena Malcom of Alliance Insurance at (870) 246-5573.
To participate or to donate to the prize fund, contact Gehrki at knitarkadelphia@gmail.com, Shelley Loe at shelley@arkadelphiaalliance.com or Kris Gravett at akgravett@gmail.com.