Open house brings out community

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Downtown West Liberty was a flutter of activity last Sunday during the annual Holiday Open House. From 1-4 p.m. various businesses opened their doors to the community.

The temperature peaked around the mid-twenties, but it didn't discourage participation; rather, it pushed more people indoors.

"For the chilly weather, this is going really well," said event coordinator and WL Chamber Chief Operating Officer Letha Ottaway. "I think everyone enjoys this because they get to see people, eat treats and win money."

Special Chamber boxes were set up at each business. Community members filled them with their names at each location in order to win Chamber bucks ranging from $100 to $25 in value.

However, businesses also set out food, games and samples of their own products. The point of the open house was to both promote local business and help the community shop locally.

Slightly Vintage, an antique furniture store, was one of the many businesses to take advantage of the the citywide open house at its location on North Calhoun Street.

Owner and operator Amber Cardona worked tirelessly with her husband, Ralph, to remodel the front of the building and parts of the inside in order to be open in time.

"It was a lot of hard work to get to today," said Cardona, "But the community came out while we were doing the building and showed their appreciation. They're excited about the future of downtown West Liberty."

Slightly Vintage has yet to open its doors permanently, but plans to have its grand opening in the Spring. It used its building to host several smaller vendors during the open louse.

Across the street the Nicole Rock School of Dance drew crowds with performances by its window dancers. Onlookers braved the cold in order to watch performances by the community's children.

Liberty Communications, Local Grounds, Designer T's, Paul Reveres, the Resale Store, Jan's Flower Yard, the Index, were a few of the many participants. The West Liberty Library, which celebrated its grand reopening the night before, also held an open house.

H.D. Cline treated community members to a hayrack ride around the area, the New Strand Theater hosted the puppet show "Willy the Woolly," by Eulenspiegel Puppets, and the West Liberty Foods Market hosted Santa.

It all ended with Christmas carols and a tree lighting at WL City Hall. Little Miss Eastern Iowa, Morgan Hodge, did the honors in front of a crowd.

"The tree is big and it's pretty," said attendant Payton Murphy, 6, "My favorite color [light] is purple."

"Can we take it home?" chimed in her three-year-old sister Tenley. The girls family lives near the big lighted tree.

Community response was positive toward the open house. The time felt short, but many would agree it was time well spent.
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