Open House opens holiday season

Stephanie Vallez · Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Downtown was filled with the festive scent of cinnamon and the sound of bells on Sunday, Nov 19, during the Holiday Open House.

Businesses across town opened their doors to visitors to celebrate the holiday season and encourage local shopping thanks to the Chamber of Commerce.

Thanks to a sunny day, the annual Holiday Open House was a success as community members chattered to the sound of Christmas music in downtown.

Red and green balloons highlighted participating businesses. Inside the West Liberty Foods Market sat Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The Market was offering cookies, sandwich pinwheels, coffee and some green concoction they call Grinch Punch, served in a clear cup with red sugar around the rim.

Georgia Clark, a first-grader, tried the Grinch Punch and was delighted by her mouth turning green.

“You should try one of their cookies,” she recommended, and the cookies did look and smell delicious.

At Keele Law Office the air was perfumed by Jess Parizek’s Scentsy merchandise.

Shoppers were looking for specialty items or handmade gifts. Even Jim Keele himself found something interesting to buy for someone special this year among the crafters and vendors he invited into his office.  

Eulenspiegel Puppet Theater was busy with children learning to make pop-up cards. Monica Leo demonstrated the secret to making the Christmas tree pop up when the card is opened.

“They’re very sweet,” Monica said, “They’re simple but they’re still exacting. You have to be precise.”

She did some magic with a glue stick and when the card opened, the tree popped up perfectly.

Children around the table talked about the special someone who will receive their handmade pop-up cards.

Later in the day, Eulenspiegel offered a puppet show by Eli Portugal who presented “Godmother Death and the Water of Life.”

Across from the puppet theater at Nicole Rock’s Dance Studio, a portion of the street was blocked off for spectators. Rock’s dancers were performing in the bay window as “Jingle Bell Rock” filled the street.

The local police were nearby keeping an ever-watchful eye on our safety. Two officers patrolled the area on foot, one wore a Santa hat and one an elf hat.

The atmosphere at Slightly Vintage was vibrant with the scent of cinnamon and nutmeg as customers filled the shop, trying politely to find room to pass by one another with their hands full of sacks.

“It’s always like this when we’re open,” Amber said with a smile from behind the counter. It was all she had time to say before another customer found the perfect gift and needed her attention.

In the streets, people from all walks of life greeted each other with smiles. Small talk could be heard everywhere, unhindered by the earmuffs or stocking caps they wore.

Citizens were pushing strollers or walking dogs, some with festive bells on their collars.

Everywhere people in mittens wished each other a joyous holiday season. There were no empty parking spaces to be found for several blocks on Third Street and N. Calhoun.

The hayrack ride, provided by HD Cline and Daufeldt farms, was loaded with passengers of all ages as customers printing Christmas cards watched from the warm windows of Liberty Press.

Jan’s Flower Yard, as fragrant as always, featured live music from Lyle Beaver as well as brownies, cookies and punch.

Shoppers relaxed on benches among floral arrangements with cups and snacks, warming up with conversation. Jan greeted each of them with a smile.

“I’ve been in business for 36 years, I would like to retire but then I’ll call Lyle and I’ll say ‘one more year!’” Jan laughed and began to clap as Lyle ended his rendering of “White Christmas.”

The West Liberty Index gave children an opportunity to write a letter to Santa while Morgan Hodge, Miss Pre-Teen Muscatine, let community members send Christmas card to the troops.

Cards for the troops will be collected by the Red Cross and delivered to our heroes overseas. Letters to Santa will, of course, be sent directly to the North Pole.

From the library to Mangolandia, from Jeff’s to Fred’s, all over town people crowded into local businesses for warmth and fellowship.

The sounds and scents of Christmas filled the streets and although the day was cold the town emanated the warmth of a holiday season filled with good friends, good food and good cheer.
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