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Winner Named in 'Find Alex' Contest

Washington, D.C., resident Patricia McNally will enjoy an Alexandria winter shopping spree worth more than $2,000 as the winner of the "Find Alex" holiday shopping promotion program instituted by the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association.

McNally's name was selected from a pool of 1,300 entries during First Night festivities. All holiday shoppers who found the specially tagged toy Scottie named "Alex" at one or more of the 43 participating Alexandria retail businesses were eligible to submit entry forms. Each participating business donated a $50 gift certificate redeemable during January and February 2005.

"My girlfriends and I were there for a full day of holiday shopping," McNally said. "We were in and out of the shops all day. I like to shop in Alexandria because there are so many shops offering all kinds of items."

The program ran from Nov. 26 through Dec. 24. McNally entered her winning contest form at Gossipia on Cameron Street.

"Find Alex" was the centerpiece of ACVA's 2004 City-wide holiday program, which carried a Scottish theme. It incorporated a regional marketing and advertising campaign, professional entertainers who performed at locations throughout Old Town and Del Ray, and a holiday decorating contest for Alexandria businesses and residences.

Winners of the decorating contests were given gift certificates from local florists. The winner of ACVA's local radio advertising contest received a couple's spa weekend from Sugarhouse Day Spa & Salon.

"WE CREATED an atmosphere that was fun, festive and fancy-free. Our goal was to encourage shoppers throughout the Greater Washington area to come to Alexandria for their holiday shopping," said Jo Anne Mitchell, ACVA president and CEO.

"We would like to thank all the businesses that donated prizes and participated. The program was successful, thanks to the enthusiastic participation of members of the King Street Metro Enterprise Team, the Potomac West Business Association, and the Alexandria Hotel Association plus many individuals in both Old Town and Del Ray," she said.

"We owe a special thank you to former City Manager Phil Sunderland for underwriting the program with $125,000 used in our marketing program," Mitchell said. Those funds were provided in lieu of the holiday free parking program that was instituted after 9/11 to encourage shoppers to come to Old Town.

Winner in the residential decorating contest was Kate Pinson, owner of Hunter Mews Designs, for her Wolfe Street home decorations. "I was pleasantly surprised, especially since the decorations we did were an extension of our interior design business," she said.

ACVA will host two 2004 Holiday Wrap Up sessions at The Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St., to which business representatives and the public are invited, according to Laura Overstreet, ACVA communications vice president. The first will be on Jan. 31 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and the second on Feb. 1 from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

"We are encouraging feedback so that we can evaluate the program and build on what we've learned to make the 2005 program even better," Mitchell said. To RSVP for the sessions call ACVA at 703-838-4200, ext. 203.

Other winners in both categories were:

* Residential: 2nd place - Stan Bondurant and Peter Lundgren, East Nelson Street, Del Ray; 3rd place - Duncan and Lenora Thomson, East Nelson Street, Del Ray.

* Commercial: 1st place - Why Not?, 200 King St.; 2nd place - Oxford Finance, 133 N. Fairfax St.; 3rd place - Yates Automotive, 317 E. Braddock Road.