Christmas comes early to Rugby
Businesses all over Rugby rang in the Christmas season last weekend, and although the celebration started the day after Halloween, the timing was perfect for many people.
Rugby Chamber of Commerce/Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Executive Director Darylanna Durkee told The Tribune, “We weren’t the first to get (the decorations) out, but it was kind of perfect with all of the Christmas music and Christmas advertisements starting the day of our Christmas in a Small Town.
“So, we were kind of right on track with the retail side of the world, and that was awesome.”
Reflecting on the 3-day event, which started November 1, Durkee noted, “I’ve mostly heard good things (about it). I know people enjoy looking at the lights whenever they’re around. I thought it was super fun I’m still enjoying all of the decorations. I was able to kind of see those after the city council meeting as well. I went driving around again and checked them all out.”
“I was out on Thursday night, and I’ve visited with a couple of people since then,” Durkee added. “Most of (the business owners) said there were tons of people, and lots of traffic more than usually would be out on a Thursday evening. We battled some mist and rain and all kinds of stuff there that night, but we got really good feedback. We had some open houses, and everybody got a chance to show off what they were looking to show off.”
Durkee said the Chamber and CVB were still evaluating the event and seeking feedback from those who participated.
“There are some, I guess, kind of complaints that we’re a little too early; that we’re skipping Thanksgiving,” Durkee said of some comments she’s received so far, “but, I think no matter what you do, you battle that.”
Durkee said she would also seek feedback on staging “Christmas in a Small Town” next year, which she said traditionally begins the first Thursday in November.
“That’s something I’m talking to each business owner about right now; kind of going around and weighing our options it’s a lot of effort getting our lights up, and so, talking to each of them to say, ‘Was it such an increase that you would want to do this again?’ and knowing that next year, the 1st of November falls on a Friday, so that would make Christmas in a Small Town on the 7th of November,” Durkee said.
The Prairie Village Museum participated in the weekend festivities, hosting a vendor show dubbed “Market at the Museum” Saturday. Museum Executive Director Stephanie Steinke described the event as a success.
“We came up here to set up about 10 a.m., and we had a few early bird customers,” Steinke said. “We had a really good response. The first three hours were super busy.”
” We sold out of lots of things, especially the food,” Steinke noted.
“I think as far as Christmas in a Small Town goes, this would be a good way for the museum to participate in the future. As far as vendorships go, we’ve been asked by quite a few people if we would ever have a vendor show out back in the summer, like a big one. I’m happy with the results, so we’re going to consider that for next summer.”
Keri Pedersen of Keri’s Baking Obsession participated in the market. She agreed with Steinke’s assessment. As she packed up mostly empty display cases that once held lefse, kugen, cupcakes and Swedish doughnuts, she said, “Business was pretty good today.”
Pedersen said her goods were “all from scratch. Potatoes (for lefse) are even home grown. I don’t buy any of my potatoes.”
LeAnn Cargo had a display of handmade jewelry from her business “Tumbleweeds and Turquoise” in the market.
“I like the western turquoise, but I do all different designs,” added Cargo, who grew up in Rugby. Her business is located in Towner.
Cargo said she was also impressed with the day’s events. “Copper, silver, bronzes, gray Navajo pearls are very popular (with customers),” she noted.
“I just love (turquoise) and I think you can wear it with anything. I try to keep the prices reasonable for everybody to be able to afford it,” she added.
Judy Zietz of Rugby displayed her handmade quilts. “I’ve had a lot of people here looking (at the quilts) today. Zietz said she grew up sewing with her mother, so the business naturally came to her. “I just like to sew things,” she said.
Erica Mattern of Rugby sold Senegence makeup at the market, and described business as “good.” As Mattern left the event, she made plans to come back next year.
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