Franki Evans and other students help hang greenery over the front of Nature’s Corner, where Emily Cashman and her staff had already begun setting up for the Holiday Open House inside.

Grant Ries hangs greenery at Michael & Dowd, as Duane Fisher of GOVS helps the students decorate downtown.

The Vinton-Shellsburg NHS and FFA members decorated local businesses with wreaths, greenery and lights on Saturday, preparing the city for its first Christmas events of the season. The greenery project is a fund-raiser for GOVS, the VS scholarship program.

Several events and promotions begin this week.

The Vinton Unlimited Holiday Open House takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19, when many stores will offer exceptional deals, samples, tastings and music.

Beginning November 19, many stores will be open Sunday afternoons through Christmas.

Santa’s mailbox will also be available in front of LaGrange Pharmacy starting on November 19 through December 21.

Holiday Punch Card program

The Holiday Lights Punch Card also kicks off at the Open House. Receive one punch for every $10 spent at participating businesses. Fill up a card and be entered into weekly drawings and one grand prize!

Chili Supper

On Thursday evening, before the parade,  Vinton Lions Club will be hosting a chili supper at the Fire Station from 4:30 -7:30 p.m. to benefit the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight.

Parade set for Thursday; Santa to visit children after arriving at Courthouse

The Seventh Annual Veterans Patriotic Christmas Parade takes place Thursday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m.

The last vehicle in the parade is a Vinton fire truck, with Santa on board. He will then visit children at the Courthouse after the parade.

See more details about the lighted parade HERE.

Zero Percent Holiday Loan Program

Eligible shoppers also have a unique opportunity for an interest-free loan for holiday shopping. This program allows eligible shoppers to borrow money from a Vinton bank at 0% interest for up to 6 months to help with holiday purchases. Visit the VU website for full details. This program runs now through Dec 31, 2017.

See more photos of the Saturday decorating by VS students HERE.