While Santa Claus may be the star of Merritt’s iconic Country Christmas weekend, the Grinch was all the rage at this year’s annual light-up parade. Cruising in his green replica Ford coupe, the beast from Mount Crumpit terrified – and delighted – parade goers as a part of the Merritt Stock Car Association’s (MSCA) float. 

After much public cheer and praise on a local Facebook group, the Grinch himself is hosting a ‘Photos with the Grinch’ event at Murray GM to raise funds for the MSCA’s Kids Club. Christopher Jones, a local rancher and the masked man at the wheel of the green car, chose the Grinch look for the parade because of the bright green colour of his car. Using a borrowed mask and a suit from Amazon, Jones hit the road. 

“The people loved the car, the burnouts, and the Grinch. I played very hard to the audience and interacted with the kids,” Jones told the Herald.

“Some were scared, others very excited. The comments on The Merritt Grapevine tells the story of how the audience liked it. On the Grapevine many people asked who the Grinch was, and a few said they would love to have pics taken with him. I came up with the idea of doing a session, kinda like photos with Santa in the mall.” 

While the MSCA and Mr. Grinch himself didn’t win any awards from the Country Christmas Week Committee, the public reception of the green hermit was overwhelmingly positive. Jones said he reached out to Murray GM, who happily donated the use of their lot as a venue for the event. A local photographer has also volunteered their time to snap the photos. 

Proceeds from the event will go to the stock car association’s Kids Club, which promotes racing and community amongst the Nicola Valley’s youth. With the raised funds’ final destination set, it was just a matter of determining a price for the photos. 

“I thought of charging $10 for a picture and donating it to charity, but then changed my mind to by donation. I did not want to exclude anyone, especially kids, for financial reasons,” explained Jones. 

“I am a member of the Merritt Stock Car Association, the Merritt Speedway is where I race my car. I have been active in their Kids Club in both donations and my grandkids as participants. It just seemed like a natural [fit for the donations].”

Jones first bought his stock car, a model 1940 Ford 5 window coupe featuring a 1250cc Yamaha street bike motor, over two years ago. Falling in love with the sport, he became heavily involved with the MSCA. Jones is proud to call the Merritt Speedway his home track. He serves as the organization’s media liaison. Jones said the Kids Club is not only a great introduction to the sport, but the program is sure to keep youngsters on the right track. 

“Kids who race and work on cars do not bully kids, do drugs, drink, or steal. This is a community service that we provide to give the community a sense of belonging,” added Jones.

Photos with the Grinch will take place at Murray GM on Saturday, December 10, from 2 to 4PM. Photos are by donation. For more information on the MSCA, visit www.merrittspeedway.ca.