Shoppers ‘Centered for Christmas’ on blustery Saturday
Although the edge of a storm system passed through Rugby Saturday, a large number of residents turned out to shop, dine and participate in events for all ages.
The series of events, called “Centered for Christmas,”, took place at local businesses and downtown all day Saturday, ending with Rugby’s Parade of Lights at 6:30 pm.
Families with children enjoyed a free matinee showing of “The Grinch” at the Lyric Theater, and more Grinchy fun was had at Memorial Hall after the matinee, courtesy of the Rugby Jaycees.
Ashley Wangler of the Rugby Jaycees told the Tribune in a written statement, “The Grinchmas was a success! We had lots of families come and enjoy the festivities! It was a free will donation event,”
Wangler said the Jaycees accepted toy or cash donations at the event, with “all proceeds going to Project Joy. We had a hot chocolate and cider bar, make your own ornaments, decorating sugar cookies, letters to Santa and games. We had bingo, ring toss and musical chairs. We had so many businesses donate items for prizes, it turned out to be an awesome fundraiser, and we hope to make it an annual event!”
Local businesses extended their hours to mark Small Business Saturday and many reported a steady stream of customers.
Magnolia Wellness Spa owner Teresa Block told the Tribune customer traffic was “better than expected considering the awful weather. I had sales on all salt products. Your first one was 15 percent off and then if you bought a second, it was 25 percent off, and then 35 percent off for a third one. I had a lot of sales going on today and yesterday.”
Block said Magnolia Wellness Spa offers “a lot of health products, things that make your life better and make you feel better.”
Block said she offers information and answers questions about the products she sells, unlike online retailers.
“Usually, before you leave, you have your answers,” Block said.
Holly Niemi of Holly’s Stitches and Crafts said she noticed an increase of shoppers downtown. “We participated in the $100 Rugby Bucks drawing,” Niemi said.
The Rugby Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors’ Bureau sponsored the Rugby Bucks drawing in local businesses to encourage shopping local.
Jennifer Mattson of the Jeneral Store said of Saturday’s turnout, “Yesterday was busy but I was surprised at how many people came to shop today. It was amazing.”
Across from the Jeneral Store, Jessica Brossart of Market on Main said the day “went really well. I was really happy with how many locals stayed around to shop.”
Brossart noted shoppers of all ages were out in the blustery weather. “There were so many mothers and daughters and grandmothers and everybody out shopping as families. It was really fun.”
Shoppers crowded into Rockin Relics before the parade for a quick bite or cup of hot cocoa. Bonnie Berginski, her husband Greg, and crew poured hot drinks to go, topping them with whipped cream.
Outside on Main Avenue, children played in snowdrifts along the sidewalk and formed snowballs in their gloves as they waited in anticipation for the parade to begin.
First responders led the way with their red, white and blue lights flashing like Christmas tree decorations. Modern and antique fire trucks decked out in string lights followed, with drivers throwing candy to throngs of children. More cars and floats along the way carried a replica gingerbread house and a giant Christmas present strung with blinking bulbs.
Santa Claus made an appearance, too, riding on a red pickup truck and waving at squealing youngsters.
The crowd gathered around Santa when he stopped to preside over the lighting of Rugby’s Christmas tree at the corner of Main and Second Street. Volunteers served cups of hot cider.
Rugby Chamber Board President Ashley Berg did triple duty Saturday, welcoming shoppers at Main Street Boutique and helping Santa as a volunteer reindeer.
“It was a great day in general,” Berg said. ” I always tease it’s North Dakota and we’re going to have winter, and we’re going to have snow. If anything, the snow just made it pretty.”
Santa agreed. “I was surprised. There was a ton of people,” he noted, adding, “Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!” ?
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