RIFLE, COLORADO - Getting the Rifle, Colo. community together, helping Rifle businesses and giving residents something to do are some of the things past participants say about the Holly Days and Parade of Lights events.This years events, including a home lighting contest, take place Saturday, Dec. 13, with many prizes raffled off to lucky ticket holders.Nicole Gray of Rifle has taken part in Holly Days for the last three years, although she hasnt won any prizes.Yet, she said. I have a feeling this year, though.The events are fun things to go to town to do, especially with kids, Gray said.Her 3-, 12-, and 15-year-olds have enjoyed the parade and the prize raffle, she said. Plus, its a good incentive to get out and buy local.It gets the community together and I think its important to stay uplifted when were going through such tough economic times, Gray said.She does nearly all her holiday shopping at Rifle businesses, especially places like Marys (previously Wendlls) Wondrous Things, Gray said.I hate to drive anywhere, and this saves on gas to Grand Junction, she said.Downtown merchant Gary Miller of Millers Dry Goods said people this year are digging it, when it comes to Holly Days raffle tickets.Theyre excited about it and theyre expecting it, he said. Weve really been pushing the parade, to get more floats. And we talk to folks who havent lived here very long about small town activities like this.Millers Dry Goods participated in Holly Days in its first year and most of them since then, Miller said.In each of the years that I didnt, I regretted it, he said. We dont have a lot of promotions with just Rifle retailers, so Im glad the paper puts it on.Marvin Kramer participated in the home decorating contest for the last 7 years and won several first, second and third-place prizes. He has also taken part in the Holly Days events.It benefits Rifle because it gives the community something to do, he said. You get to go round and talk to people you maybe havent seen all year. And its fun for the kids. Christmas is all about the kids.This years Holly Days theme is Good Ole Days, where 19 participating retail merchants will offer their customers a raffle ticket for every $10 they spend in those businesses. Each retailer has donated a prize worth at least $50, some worth hundreds of dollars, which are raffled off at the Holly Days event, along with a grand prize, after the Parade of Lights, at the Garfield County Fairgrounds. Entry boxes will be at the fairgrounds, when ticket holders will drop them into the box for a chance to win the prizes they want.Among this years grand prize is a wooden rocking chair, a runner sled, wagon, old-style soda fountain table and stools, five board games and miscellaneous other prizes. This event is made possible by dollars donated by these sponsors to date: EnCana Oil & Gas, Gold Sponsor, $700; Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, Gold Sponsor, $700; Alpine Bank, Silver Sponsor, $350; Williams Production RMT, Silver Sponsor, $350; Rusty Canon Hotel, Bronze Sponsor, $200.In-kind donations have come from Jeans Printing, approximately $2,000; and KMTS-FM, approximatelly $2,300. Sponsorship money can come from anywhere, the business that sponsor the event do not have to be from the Rifle area. Gold, silver or bronze sponsors receive special recognition throughout the Holly Days campaign, with their business names featured on sponsor ads in both the Citizen Telegram and the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.Gold-level sponsors can also display their company banner at the Holly Days finale on Dec. 13 and will receive one free, full-color, quarter-page ad in the Citizen Telegram.Look for ads in the Citizen Telegram and Post Independent, check the eEdition of the Citizen Telegram online at citizentelegram.com or look for flyers at participating merchants.