Gifts, including a car and thousands of euros in vouchers for local grocery stores Faro, activities for all tastes, a Santa Claus House and streets flooded with light make for another edition of Christmas in Baixa and Faro Somos Todos, which were launched this Thursday, November 30th, in the Algarve capital.
The Christmas entertainment in Baixa Farense was officially launched with the inauguration of the Christmas lighting, in the early evening of Thursday, in Praça da Pontinha, by Rogério Bacalhau, but also by some children.
This was followed by a visit to the “Faro We Are All”, a project that involves local commerce and which has new features in 2023.
«The objective here is, in some way, to draw attention and promote Christmas and family celebrations, while helping local businesses», summarized Rogério Bacalhau.
This is achieved in two ways. The first is by offering «all pre-school and first cycle students a check worth 25 euros, as well as those in brackets A and B in the second and third cycle and secondary».
«There will be more than 6 thousand students who will be awarded this check, so that they can then buy a Christmas present, let's call it that, here in Comércio da Baixa», according to the president of the Chamber of Faro.
Another way to boost the economy, while benefiting families, is through the “Faro We are all".
This year, around 200 traders joined this initiative jointly promoted by the municipality and local businesspeople, which, in essence, will maintain the model of previous years in 2023.
For every 10 euros of purchases in participating local commerce stores, Faro, the customer receives a coupon, which, after duly filled out and placed in the tombola in the “Faro We Are All”, on Rua do Lethes, entitles you to win one of the prizes that will be drawn in December.
This year, in addition to 20 thousand euros in vouchers to be spent in participating stores, the Chamber of Faro will draw an electric vehicle, in collaboration with ACRAL – Association of Commerce and Services of the Algarve Region and with Carglass. On both the 8th and 15th of December, 5 thousand euros in prizes will be drawn, while on the 22nd, ten thousand euros and the vehicle will be awarded.
«We are talking about around a thousand vouchers of 30, 50 and 200 euros, which will be drawn through the tombola», summarized Paulo Santos, vice-president of the Chamber of Faro, which revealed the party program.
A new feature that was introduced this year in the “Faro Somos Somos” was the replacement of the wheel of luck with scratch cards.
«This scratch card is not a game of chance, there is always a prize. There are 30 thousand prizes, including nautical experiences, tickets to cultural spaces, tickets to Festival F and Açoteia, visits to the Faro Story Spot, trips on the tourist train, visits to the Centro Ciência Viva and gifts», he revealed.
To access this scratch card, people “have to answer a survey”, the objective of which is “to better understand the profile of people who shop in local businesses, people who use sports spaces, cultural spaces, what people think about sustainability, what do people think about civic participation processes, in the social area, in tourism».
«We have 12 categories in which people, in a very quick, very simple survey, so as not to waste too much time, help us to better understand the profile of people from Faro and those who visit us, since this initiative is open to everyone» , explained Paulo Santos.
The first to respond to this survey and receive a scratch card in his hands was Rogério Bacalhau, who received a cell phone holder with the municipality's symbol.
For the youngest, as always, there will also be several proposals, including the Santa Claus House, which has been operating since yesterday, December 1st, and moved, this year, to the old Martinez store, in the commercial downtown of city.
Also for the youngest, another edition of the book “Os Farrobinhas” was created, which in 2023 will be offered to children inside “a box full of surprises”.
One of them is a book with yet another adventure of these characters, which members of the Southern Designers Association brought to life, who, this year, “will rescue Santa Claus”, with the support of the mascot of the Civil Protection of Faro.
In 2023, this book combines history with a collecting component, since, in addition to the coupons, anyone who makes 10 euros in purchases in participating stores will also receive a sachet of stickers, to fill in the Os Farrobinhas book.
The box, which will be offered by Santa Claus to children who go to “his” house, already contains a first sachet, in addition to the book.
Another element of this box is a game «about civil protection», called “Rescue do Santa Claus”, the same name as the most recent adventure by Os Farrobinhas.
«The game comes with cards, with questions. It's a type of Glory game, applied to civil protection", described the vice-president of the Chamber of Faro.
«This game and all these materials will later become teaching materials for primary and pre-school schools. We are going to have this game in a larger size, each school will receive kits, so they can work on the topic of Civil Protection throughout the year», concludes Paulo Santos.
At Santa Claus House, children will also be able to enjoy activities promoted by the Centro de Ciência Viva do Algarve and Hora do Conto, among other activities.
The Chamber of Faro It will also offer tickets to the circus that will be located next to the Sports Complex to pre-school and primary school students.
This program is carried out in partnership with business associations, including the Association for the Development of Commerce in the Historic Zone of Faro, but also ACRAL, the Association of Hotel and Similar Industries (AIHSA) and the Association of Hotels and Tourist Enterprises of the Algarve.
For Davide Alpestana, president of the downtown association Faro, «the expectation is that the “Faro We Are All” has renewed support from the population».
«What we want is to create a feeling of community, sharing and experiencing Christmas here that leaves us all satisfied», he added.
Photos: Cátia Rodrigues | Sul Informação