Firmly rooted live tree will light up festivities

Chamber’s Hometown Holiday Kick-off adds new shop local contest

Shop Cordova First Passports. (Photo by Cathy Renfeldt/for The Cordova Times)

Join in the holiday fun at a new rendition of the Cordova Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Holiday Kick-off on Friday, Nov. 30. This year, the event will feature a live tree and take place in front of the Cordova Center on Main Street starting at 5 p.m.

Lovers of local holiday tradition will be happy to hear that the event will still feature carols, hot chocolate, an appearance by Santa and a big, beautifully decorated tree. But unlike in years past, this year’s tree will be living and firmly rooted in the ground.

When last year’s tree was blown down three times in as many weeks, the Chamber began to think about a more sustainable way to celebrate.

This year’s tree will be more centrally-located on Main Street, right between the Cordova Center and the Pioneer Igloo. It also means one less tree being cut down and less fuel and energy to move and erect it. The annual Holiday Bazaar will also start that evening, just one block away at Mt. Eccles Elementary School.

Considered the official beginning of the holiday season in Cordova, the Chamber’s annual Holiday Kick-off and Tree Lighting is also the first night of Moonlight Madness, a festive Chamber program that encourages local residents to “Shop Cordova First” during the holiday season.

Local businesses stay open late every Friday in December to give Cordovans more opportunity to do their holiday shopping in town. The Chamber circulates a list of participating businesses along with details on Moonlight Madness sales, treats and festive activities. Now, the fun is going to a whole new level.

This year, we wanted to make shopping local even more fun, so we put together these Shop Cordova First Passports.

Throughout the holiday season, local shoppers can get a stamp for each retail purchase made at a local Cordova business or with a Cordova artisan. Then, shoppers turn in the passport to the Chamber by Jan. 1. For every $20 worth of local spending recorded in a passport, that person will get an entry to win one of several prizes donated by Points North Heli Adventures, Orca Adventure Lodge, Copper River Canvas, Nichols Front Door Store, a free family membership to Bidarki Recreation Center and Bob Korn Memorial Pool and more!

Shop Cordova First Passports will be distributed for free by the Cordova Chamber of Commerce at the Nov. 17 Saturday Market, the Holiday Kick-off on Nov. 30, the Bidarki Holiday Bazaar Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and will be available for pick up at the Chamber office.

As always, the Holiday Kick-off and Tree Lighting is completely free to the community, supported by local businesses and volunteers, and is brought to you by the Cordova Chamber of Commerce. If you would like to donate to support the event or volunteer, email or call 907-424-7260. The latest details for the event are available at

Cathy Renfeldt is the executive director of Cordova Alaska Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s Shop Cordova First campaign was started in 2014 and works to strengthen the local economy by supporting Cordova businesses.