Get ready to jingle
The final touches were put in place this week and now it’s time for the big show.
The 65th annual Jingle Bells Telethon is set for Saturday, December 7 from 5 to 10 p.m. at Lake Geneva Christian Center in Alexandria.
The telethon will feature dozens of music and dance acts and it will all be broadcast online and on local television.
The telethon is a fun, festive event focused on raising money to support local people in need.
The Alexandria Jaycees team up with the Jingle Bells Foundation to put on the annual telethon.
Matt Gilbertson, this year’s Jingle Bells director, said there are a lot of logistics that go into putting on the show, but it’s an amazing accomplishment to keep the telethon going for 65 years.
“We couldn’t do it without community support,” he said.
That support comes from generous donations and dedicated volunteers year after year.
The first Jingle Bells Telethon was hosted on KXRA-AM Radio in 1949 and they raised $500.
Last year, donations totaled $117,000 and this year’s goal is $120,000.
Gilbertson said the best way to catch the Jingle Bells Telethon is live, in-person at Lake Geneva Christian Center anytime from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday. A bus will be available to transport people from the parking lot to the worship center.
If you can’t make it out Saturday night, snuggle in and tune in with one of these options:
● Excellent Multimedia will be providing the television production and online streaming services for this year’s broadcast. Go to www.jinglebellsalexandria.org to watch online.
● With a coordinated effort between Gardonville Telephone Cooperative and Selective TV, the over-the-air signal will be seen on Channel 21.4.
● The broadcast will also be seen on Gardonville Digital Television service on Channel 4 Lakes Area Local Access (LALA); Charter Cable viewers in Alexandria, Glenwood and Osakis can watch on Alexandria Community Television Channel 7; and the telethon will also be live on Runestone Cable Television Channel 6.
There are several options to donate:
● Tune in, call and donate during Saturday night’s telethon.
● Log on and donate through the Jingle Bells Telethon website at www.jinglebellsalexandria.org.
● Mail a check to: Alex Jaycees, c/o Jingle Bells, PO Box 131, Alexandria, MN 56308.
HELP NEEDED SUNDAY
After the audience is treated to about 35 acts, everything from soloists to belly dancers, on Saturday, the generosity spills over into Sunday, too.
On Sunday, December 8 beginning at 9 a.m., volunteers are needed to help assemble and deliver gift baskets to local residents.
The baskets are packed with things like a chicken or turkey, flour and sugar, pie ingredients, toys and more.
Gilbertson said, for him, delivering the baskets is the most rewarding part of the whole weekend.
“You get to see the people these baskets are delivered to and the joy it brings. It’s good knowing they’re going to have a good meal and presents under the tree.”
Gilbertson said they’ll use all the help they can get to deliver on Sunday.
“That’s really where we need a lot of community support; delivering the baskets,” Gilbertson said.
Volunteers are invited to show up at H. Boyd Nelson (3800 Minnesota Street in Alexandria, north of the truck stop on County Road 45) at 9 a.m. Volunteer drivers will be asked to deliver three or four baskets on their route.
At the end of the day, approximately 1,000 baskets will be delivered to local people in need.