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Merchants promote Halloween dash for loot

November 01, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — A man dressed like a jack-o'-lantern jogged through racks of clothes and past a Sam Ellis Store clerk as reporters trailed.

A bemused clerk turned to a man standing beside her and asked, "What's all this?"

He shook his head and said, "No sé."

"This" was the first-ever "Pumpkin Run," a Halloween promotion sponsored by 10 downtown Calexico merchants.

After a week of passing out entry forms to anyone who asked for one, the merchants picked a winner Sunday.

After the winner was notified by phone, he was told the rules of the promotion — he would be given a half hour to spend $500 worth of $50 gift certificates at 10 different downtown stores.

The winner, Jesus Herrera of Mexicali, sent his 25-year-old son and his daughter over the border to collect his prizes.

At noon Wednesday, the son, Eric Herrera, was painted to look like a jack-o'-lantern and made to wear a big orange shirt and Halloween headband.

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When Roy Dorantes of Western Auto signaled it was time to start, Herrera dashed into T.C. Worthy Cash-and-Carry and started picking items.

His sister Carla helped him as he ran back and forth through aisles.

Sometimes she would visit a store before he got there to set stuff aside to save time.

Accompanying Herrera on his dash for loot were members of the local media, Chamber of Commerce representatives and the Western Auto Girls.

Some people laughed as they saw the crowd run by or hopped out of the way.

One man on a bike rode by and shouted, "Aii-yi-yi."

Herrera cracked a jack-o'-grin at that.

After starting at T.C. Worthy, Herrera hustled to California Supermarket, Garlans, Western Auto, Delta Econcenter, Christina's Lingerie, Calexico Stationers, Sam Ellis, Alpha Plasma Center and, finally, Apple Market-Super Shopping.

After the half hour was over, Herrera was tired, sweaty and responsible for huge packages of hot dogs, nine bras, a nightie, some new jeans, a pie, a basket full of motor oil, a big ham, a clock, a few economy-sized tins of Folger's Coffee, chicken bologna, an extra-large pizza, a thermos, some fabric softener, a green shirt and some cotton trousers and baskets of more stuff.

Herrera said his father picked up the winning ticket at Garlan's.

Dorantes said the next promotion will be called the "Turkey Run" and the prize will be $1,000 in certificates.

"We want to make sure people know that when you shop Calexico, you win," he added.

Downtown shoppers don't need to buy anything to receive a ticket, Dorantes stressed.

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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