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Malls prepare for holiday rush; singers, gingerbread houses, holiday helpers on the way.

BY ALL RIGHTS, THERE should be a third definition of Christmas in the dictionary. Just behind "1. The birth of Jesus" and "2. The western world's most celebrated holiday" should be "3. Wall-to-wall humanity at the mall."

Cheryl Minor, marketing director for McCain Mall in North Little Rock, says about 1.6 million people will tramp through the state's largest mall from Nov. 1 to Christmas Day. The same thing will happen at every large mall across Arkansas, and this makes the Christmas season a prime time for mall promotions and special events.

In association with KURB-FM (98.5), McCain Mall is promoting a drawing for a $5,000 shopping spree to be held on Nov. 24, just in time to beat the day-after-Thanksgiving assault. The mall will send out a direct mail piece on the shopping spree to 70,000 homes north of the Arkansas River on Nov. 10, and the event is being promoted heavily by radio.

To enter, shoppers must write down the locations of all new and relocated stores in the mall. This gives them a good reason to visit the new stores.

At Park Plaza in Little Rock, Santa Claus will arrive Nov. 20 as part of a press conference to introduce this year's Arkansas Children's Hospital Auxiliary holiday cards and gift tags, which will be sold at the mall.

Beginning Dec. 1, community and school choirs will perform in Park Plaza's Holiday Harmony Concerts throughout the weekdays.

On Dec. 4, an event called the "Gingerbread Extravaganza" will begin to benefit Treatment Homes Inc. of Little Rock. Ticket buyers will receive breakfast and a movie. The next day, there will be a Tour of Homes -- gingerbread homes decorated by celebrities and other areas residents.

Beginning Nov. 20, shoppers who don't want to fight for a spot in the mall parking lot may also park on weekends at Catholic High School or Plaza West and take a shuttle to the mall.

Holiday fashion shows will be Nov. 13 at 3 and 7 p.m., featuring Park Plaza merchants, apparel and gifts.

At The Pines mall in Pine Bluff, the "Everything but Reindeer" promotion begins Thursday, Nov. 11, with the dispensing of free holiday planners. On Nov. 26, the day after Thanksgiving, the Pine Bluff Symphony will perform at 4 p.m.

Play houses made by various businesses in town will be auctioned and raffled off during the season as a fundraiser for the Southeast Arkansas Arts & Science Center.

NW Mall Works on Traffic

In Fayetteville, the Northwest Arkansas Mall is planning large-scale outdoor Christmas lighting. Problems with traffic flow in previous years may be alleviated by the $150,000 the mall spent to double the number of lanes used to turn in and out of the mall, and the installation of traffic lights at the intersection of Zion Road and U.S. Highway 71B.

Ed Pilarz, vice president and general manager, says the Northwest mall has expanded its parking by creating a new, remote lot that will be used by employees during the Christmas season, freeing up good spaces for customers.

Four malls -- McCain, Park Plaza, University and the Pines -- are participating in a weekend program called Holiday Helpers. The helpers greet shoppers at the entrances, carry packages to the car and provide umbrellas or flashlights when needed.

And the Salvation Army's Angel Tree program for needy children is scheduled at Park Plaza, McCain and a few other malls around the state. Shoppers can take an angel off the Christmas tree to fulfill a child's dream.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Haman, John
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Nov 8, 1993
Words:590
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