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Rugby shoppers beat the heat with Crazy Days fun, bargains

By Sue Sitter - | Jul 24, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Ryli Kuhnhenn, Miss Teen Rugby International, offers slices of watermelon to shoppers in the afternoon heat at Crazy Days July 15.

Temperatures in the 90s couldn’t keep many shoppers away from Rugby’s Crazy Days held at Rugby stores from Highway 2 to the downtown area Thursday, July 15.

Shoppers enjoyed snow cones, cotton candy and bargains galore at the annual event, sponsored by the Rugby Chamber of Commerce.

DyVonne Zinck, owner of Rugby’s former Fashion and Flair Boutique, sat in the shade behind tables and racks laden with clothes, jewelry and accessories.

“Everything’s a dollar,” she said. “You can’t go wrong at that price.”

Zinck called the day’s customer traffic “pretty brisk. We had a pretty good day, actually, even with the heat.”

Miss Teen Rugby International Ryli Kuhnhenn strolled through the crowd on Second Street, offering slices of watermelon from a blue bowl. “We had this left over from our watermelon eating contest,” she explained. “It was sponsored by Leever’s Foods. They donated the watermelon.” Kuhnhenn, a Rugby High School student, works as a cashier at the grocery store.

“The contest was a lot of fun,” Kuhnhenn said. “We got a lot of kids in there. Some got drenched in watermelon juice. Plus, we gave away some Subway gift certificates to those who won.”

Kuhnhenn added, “The day’s been a lot of fun. We have some amazing shops and vendors and shops that have displays outside. I think we had a good turnout this year.”

Outside Stylin’ You Boutique and Solid Ground Cafe, Maddex Kirchofner and two other teens served up cotton candy. It’s homemade cotton candy,” Kirchofner said. Lauren Westphal, who sat with the others under an awning attached to a travel trailer, said, “We had slushies earlier.” The teens explained the machine had stopped working.

Kirchofner, whose mom, Jodie, owns the salon and cafe, said the stand was “pretty busy, actually. We’ve been making cotton candy the whole time and we’ve run out five times. We have bubble gum, banana, blue raspberry, watermelon, orange, lemon, cherry red and grape flavors.”

Inside Stylin’ You, Ryan Slaubaugh said the salon was “doing really well. The cotton candy and refreshment stand has been really busy. We’ve had a lot of sales. We’ve had customers in and out with the salon going and the coffee shop’s been open.”

On Main Avenue, Cindy Brossart of Cindy’s Country Cupboard said from inside her store, “The heat didn’t bother me at all. A few customers complained about the heat, but they said it felt nice coming into the store.”

“We had specials on a little bit of everything. We had clothes, home decor, craft items and other things. We were very busy,” she added.

Other city-wide events included free admission to the Rugby Swimming Pool sponsored by First International Bank and Trust of Rugby; a book sale at Heart of America Public Library; an obstacle course sponsored by the chamber and Rugby Convention and Visitors Bureau; Taco-in-a-bags and snow cones sold by Little Flower Catholic School, “Tattoos and Treats with the Prairie Village Museum” and more.

Henry’s 90-Wt ribs and brisket offered plates of barbecued specialties, nachos and cool drinks to a steady stream of customers.

Pop-up vendors set up shop downtown for the day. Little Sparrows Kids’ Apparel displayed items in front of the Merchants Bank building, while JJ Threads Boutique, owned by Jessa Ostrem, sold clothing from inside Jennifer Zachmeier’s photography studio.

In Wild Minds Studio, Daunne Heilman and staff offered mystery grab bags for $5 each. Possible items contained in each bag ranged from water bottles to $20 gift cards.

Rugby Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Laurie Odden called the event “a huge success. There were lots of people and lots of sales. The obstacle course was a huge hit.”

Odden said the rise in temperatures during the afternoon may have “put a damper on things,” however. “It was quite busy and then mid afternoon, it got slow. Usually later in the day, it gets busy again and that part didn’t seem to happen.”

However, Odden added, “We’re always looking for new and better ideas (for the event).”

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