Santas arrive early at Belk

Santa may need to send his suit to the dry cleaners next week after Belk gets a jump on Christmas by hosting an event called Santafest on Saturday, November 16.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based department store chain operates 301 stores in 16 southern states, more than half of which are located in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. It can be quite warm and humid in the Southeast well into November with hurricane season not officially ending until November 30.

Despite the potential for un-Christmas like conditions and shoppers in shorts and sandals, Santa will be at all Belk stores from noon to 3 p.m. nearly two weeks before Thanksgiving for the retailer’s Santafest promotion. The event features free photos with Santa, candy canes, holiday crafts and refreshments. A new wrinkle to the annual event this year is a “Belkie Bear” design contest. Kids ages four to 11 may enter by using markers and crayons to create their own Belkie Bear design using a coloring sheet template provided during Santafest.

Judges will select a grand prize winner who will receive 10 custom Belkie Bears created based on the winner’s design, along with a $500 Belk shopping spree.  A Belkie Bear and $500 Belk shopping spree will also be awarded to winners in each of the three age categories:  4 – 6; 7 – 9 and 10 – 11.

The grand prize winner of the Belkie Bear design contest will also get a chance for his or her winning design to be used in creating a new Belkie Bear for 2014, with the proceeds from the sale of that bear going to a charity or cause indicated by the winner’s response to the contest question, “I want my Belkie Bear to help . . .”


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