By Lucas Vader

Staff Writer

In a year when events like the traditional Cedaredge Parade of Lights got the ax in the midst of intensifying COVID-19 conditions, other pandemic-friendly holiday events have sprung up in its place, including the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center’s (GMAEC) “Jingle Mingle” event, which had the subtitle of “Roaring 2020.”

Jingle Mingle took place Friday evening and included a take-and-bake meal from Daveto’s Italian Restaurant in Delta, live virtual entertainment and an online auction.

As of Monday morning, GMAEC Executive Director Deborah Shaffer didn’t have all the exact numbers on hand, but reported that the event went “beyond our expectations.”

Shaffer commended Daveto’s Italian Restaurant’s meals. “We’ve got nothing but rave reviews,” she said. “The take-and-bake food was excellent.”

To abide by regulations of the pandemic, people were able to order ahead and commit to picking up their food at GMAEC either from 5:30-6 or 6-6:30 p.m. It was a drive-thru style affair, as GMAEC volunteers in PPE handed out the food on the right side of the building. The food was wrapped in paper bags.

The meals were two different options of lasagna. There was a classic meat lasagna and there was a veggie option, which was also gluten free. Both gourmet options just needed some time in the oven and they were ready to go.

“We sold 150 take-home meals and then there were probably 35 to 40 people on the virtual auction,” Shaffer said.

The event’s live entertainment was put on by Nancy Sturgill, who calls her music persona “Geezer Radio,” as well as Martha Ditto and Debra TenNaple, who are leaders in the Valley Symphony Association and Valley Youth Orchestra. Sturgill, along with her husband, Gary, write and produce GMAEC’s plays.

Jingle Mingle was sponsored by Cristee-Meade Building Company, Orange Kat, Bill and Jeanie Hellman and Hellman Motor Company, Big John’s Lumber, Clubbs Stores and Julie and Tate Locke.

As COVID-19 continues, Shaffer assured that GMAEC is not ceasing programming. Instead, they’re continuing to adapt it as they did with Jingle Mingle. In connection with Ditto and TenNaple, there is going to be a limited-seating Valley Youth Orchestra concert at GMAEC at 4 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets and seating are limited to 30. They can be purchased, if any remain, at, under the “Youth Orchestra” tab, under “VYO Concerts.”

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