The holidays are fast approaching and the unofficial opening of the season will take place Sunday, Nov. 24 with two events in Paris.

The first is the Mercy Hospital Auxiliary’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of St. Joseph Catholic School in Paris.

That afternoon, numerous businesses in Paris will participate in the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce Merchant’s Christmas Open House. That event begins at 1 p.m. and ends at 5 p.m.

In preparing for the Thanksgiving Dinner, members of the hospital auxiliary will begin cooking turkeys later this week. Saturday morning, members of the group will gather at the cafeteria to put up decorations and get the cafeteria ready. They gather again Sunday around 7 a.m. to finish getting everything ready. The meal to be served is a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, according to Lynda Brooks, president of the auxiliary.

The dinner costs $6 for adults and $3 for children under 12. You can eat in the cafeteria or a take out meal can be prepared.

The auxiliary expects to serve 500-plus people, Brooks said. It takes between 35 and 40 volunteers to prepare and serve meals, Brooks said.

The Thanksgiving Dinner is one of two major fund rasiers conducted by the auxiliary. The other is a golf tournament. Last year, the auxiliary gave Mercy Hospital about $10,000. The money was used to update the emergency room and replace an ice machine, Brooks said.

Also, a drawing will be held at the dinner for an arrangement by Scott’s on the Square. Chances for the drawing are $1 each.

Those attending the Merchant’s Open House will have a chance to do some window shopping, get gift ideas or get a jump start on Christmas shopping. Several of the merchants participating this year will serve refreshments or conduct prize drawings.

The following merchants have agreed to participate in the Merchant’s Open House this year or have registered their participation with the Paris Area Chamber of Commerce: Angie’s Outlet, Castle Graphics, Cowie Wine Cellars, Dollar General, Eagle Video, First National Bank of Paris, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, P.J.’s Fabric N More, Rust N Roses, Sabrina’s, Sew Kreative, Scott’s on the Square, Sweet Pickins, Southern Gypsy, Tobacco Town, Tucker Music Store, Walmart of Paris, Warren’s Shoes and Wells Furniture and Mount Magazine Gifts.

Other merchants may be participating.