North Dakota's pride was showing in Minot Saturday. The Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase opened a two-day stint in the All Seasons Arena on the State Fairgrounds. Saturday's session was well attended as attendees browsed through more than 120 booths featuring North Dakota products.
"It's a very good show," said Shirley Volness, Fargo. "Here are the products of North Dakota and the people are able to show them. I think the people of North Dakota are proud of their products products that are North Dakota-made."
Volness and her crew were manning a booth that featured machine-knit cotton dishclothes, nylon netting scrubbies and kitchen towels. The number of customers examining those items and purchasing them appeared to be fairly constant.
Many Christmas items, such as these Santas made from North Dakota driftwood, attracted the attention of shoppers at the Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase. The event continues today in Minot’s All Seasons Arena.
"I've had a pretty good day," said Volness at midafternoon Saturday.
Numerous shoppers at Pride of Dakota were filling tote bags with N.D. products. The tote bags were included with the two-dollar admission fee. Many were carrying more than one bag of N.D. products, presumably taking advantage of the showcase to do some early Christmas shopping.
Products at the booths included food items, wine, candles, baked goods, personalized gifts, Christmas decorations, mittens, mirrors and personalized wooden or neon signs. Also N.D. artists, authors and photographers were displaying their creations. It was a very busy Saturday that came as a pleasant surprise for the vendors.
"I think today is incredibly awesome. I'm having a blast. People are wonderful. Everyone's having a good time and it's a beautiful day!" remarked Michelle Vaughn, Harvey. who was helping staff the Amberland Foods/Dakota Seasonings booth. "You know, I think all the people who live here in Dakota are very proud of Dakota products and I think it makes people feel good to purchase Dakota products."
One of the items for sampling at the Amberland Foods booth was bell pepper jelly. Visitors were fairly cautious about giving the jelly a try, but the jelly met with favorable reaction from most who sampled it.
"People think it's hot but it's nice and mild. We've sold a ton of it today," said Charlie Schwartz, Harvey. "People from North Dakota like to buy those products. Many send them to relatives who have moved out of state."
Schwartz retired from the bakery business several years ago. To stay active, he started Dakota Seasonings and has become a big proponent of Pride of Dakota products.
"We do wild rice soups, bonanza barley with beef. We do wild berry jams Juneberries, chokecherries, sandcherries and plums; all picked in the area. Families bring it in and we buy it from them," explained Schwartz. "We've even got bread stuffing ready to go. All you do is put it in water and simmer it for 15 minutes and you've got bread stuffing."
The Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Minot musician Jazmine Wolff is scheduled to perform at 2 p.m.