Card sharks beware, the annual Biddeford-Saco Business Poker Crawl, now in its third year, is set to take place Feb. 3-5, coinciding with Biddeford WinterFest. For this the community event shoppers collect playing cards from local merchants and establishments and build the best poker hand they can to win valuable prizes.

Participants need to spend at least $10 at one of the 35 participating local downtown businesses to draw a playing card, organizers say. Shoppers collect cards to build their best five-card poker hand, and the top five hands submitted the night of Feb. 5 will win a basket of gifts or gift certificates from all the businesses.

The idea for the event came from Nick Blunier and the Common Roots Studio community in Biddeford.

“We started this as a way to generate more awareness for the many interesting businesses in the downtown area during a time of the year when typically, there is not a lot of foot traffic, and the response has been outstanding,” he said. “It’s become a fun annual tradition to get people out and having fun, visiting multiple stores or business locations throughout the weekend, and building community togetherness both as participants and businesses.”

Coinciding the Poker Crawl with WinterFest this year gives residents another fun experience to have in the downtown area, said Delilah Poupore of Heart of Biddeford director. HOB and Biddeford & Saco Chamber of Commerce are co-sponsoring the event along with Common Roots Studio. The Poker Crawl’s primary business sponsor is Key Bank of Saco.

“There are so many exciting businesses in our downtown area these days, and the Poker Crawl is a great way for people to explore more of what Biddeford & Saco has to offer,” said Jim LaBelle, executive director of the Biddeford & Saco Chamber of Commerce. More details about how to participate in the Poker Crawl, along with a list of the participating businesses, can be found at: www.biddefordwinterfest.org