Area residents didn't wait for Black Friday to begin their holiday shopping this year.
The Pride of Dakota Minot Holiday Showcase is taking place this weekend at the North Dakota State Fair Center. Kelly Wald, Pride of Dakota specialist with the North Dakota Department of Agriculture, said the Minot Holiday Showcase has over 100 booths this year featuring North Dakota companies making products in the state.
"There is everything from food and wine to artists that have photographs and paintings and pottery, different metalwork," Wald said. "We have apparel, jewelry, purses, accessories, lotions, candles, seed; just about anything and everything you can imagine."
Diana and Jeff Peterson, left, owners of Pointe of View Winery near Burlington, speak with a customer at the Pride of Dakota Minot Holiday Showcase in the State Fair Center Saturday afternoon.
Wald didn't have any attendance numbers Saturday afternoon but said the showcase had been busy all day.
"It's been a very good, steady flow of traffic with lots and lots of people here," Wald said. "More than we were anticipating, so that's nice."
She said they were shooting for a combined attendance of 6,500 for Saturday and today, and going by the Saturday traffic she estimated they will probably surpass that number by the end of today.
Minot Holiday Showcase
The Pride of Dakota Minot Holiday Showcase is taking place at the North Dakota State Fair Center in the "Magic Place" wing. Hours for the final day today are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $2 per adult and includes a reusable, cloth bag to put purchases in. Admission is $1 if shoppers bring their own reusable, cloth bag. Members of the military, whether active or retired, and their families get $1 off their admission price with a valid military ID.
While many of the booths had heavy traffic, Wald said the food and wine vendors always seem to be a big hit at holiday showcase events.
"And then we have several local Minot and surrounding area people, and you see a lot of individuals coming in and looking for those companies," Wald said. "They're friends and neighbors or family and they know that those companies will be here."
Wald guessed the holiday showcase events have been going on for around 20 years, and they have always proven popular.
Jeff Peterson, who owns Pointe of View Winery near Burlington with his wife Diana, said they had been busy handing out wine samples and selling bottles of wine all day long.
"It's been a wonderful day. It's been very busy," Peterson said. "The Pride of Dakota people put on a really good show, and they obviously marketed and advertised well because there's a huge crowd out here today."
Peterson said so far this year's event, with its mild outdoor temperatures, has been in marked contrast to last year, which had some pretty lousy weather that actually kept several vendors from even making it to Minot.
"It definitely seems way up from last year's first day, (at least) to me it does," Peterson said. "If we go by sales it definitely is. It's been a busy day."
Although his feet really hurt, Peterson said he had been having a very good day Saturday and looked forward to more of the same today.
"A big thanks again to the Pride of Dakota folks for doing a top-notch job getting the crowd in here," Peterson said.
Wendy Klein of Norwich had been shopping for around three hours and had been doing some sampling at the many wine and food booths. Along with all of the edible items available, Klein also took time to appreciate many of the artistic displays on hand.
"I've been enjoying all the pictures and photography," Klein said.
Klein also got some shopping in when she wasn't sampling food or wine. She bought some candles, including a few pie candles, and some beautiful, hand-painted glassware.
Klein was shopping for herself as well as knocking a few things off her Christmas present list. She said she comes to the holiday
showcase every year.
"(I wanted) to support North Dakota people with their arts and North Dakota-made products," Klein said.
The Minot Holiday Showcase was shaping up to be exceptionally busy this year. Wald said it's exciting to be in Minot this weekend and if the turnout on Saturday is any indication, the shoppers are just as happy to be there as the Pride of Dakota members.
"Everybody seems really happy. You see a lot of people going out with gifts that they're really excited about that they found for somebody on their list so they don't have to suffer through Black Friday," Wald said. "They can come and get all of their holiday shopping done in one location with tons of different things to pick from."