The Downtown Business and Professional Association will be ringing in the Christmas season once again this year with an open house celebration the day after Thanksgiving.
The Downtown Minot Olde Fashioned Christmas Open House will take place on Black Friday, Nov. 23, from 3 to 8 p.m. in downtown Minot. Denise Lindbo, events coordinator and owner of Gourmet Chef, said the open house has been going as long as she's been part of the downtown business scene, which is 20 years. As to why the event has lasted so long, Lindbo said it's pretty simple.
"It's so much fun, it's just great," Lindbo said. "It's a great family event."
There will be plenty to see and do at the open house, not to mention eat and drink. Pictures with Santa by MAC Photography will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Fair Building courtyard, while dinner with Santa will take place at the Taube Museum from 5 to 5:45 p.m. The dinner is sponsored by La Quinta Inn & Suites.
After dinner, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be strolling the streets and spending some time with any children they happen to meet.
Free hay rides sponsored by Kim Albert of Allstate Insurance, which is a longtime favorite with downtown visitors, will take place from 3 to 8 p.m.
"The hay rides are always popular," Lindbo said. "People love going on the hay rides."
If there's a bit of a chill in the air, people can warm up with chili, kabobs, hot cider, hot chocolate and Starbucks coffee at BreatheAgain Bodywords, Niess Impressions and Starbucks.
Sweet & Flour Patisserie will offer mulled red wine, cider and a hot chocolate bar along with special holiday desserts. Other types of hot drinks will also be offered at several other downtown businesses, including Flower Central, Cookies for You and Lindbo's own Gourmet Chef.
"A lot of the stores are doing dipped cookies. We're having hot apple cider here (at Gourmet Chef), we're also having live music here at our store with Gene Putnam," Lindbo said. "He does beautiful guitar."
Gene Putnam will be performing at Gourmet Chef from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
As if all those treats weren't enough, Margie's Art Glass Studio will be having s'mores.
"We've got so much going on," Lindbo said. "Bring the kids down, it's kind of back to the good old-fashioned way of celebrating Christmas."
New this year is an early-morning breakfast from 8 to 11 a.m. at La Quinta Inn & Suites.
"La Quinta is also sponsoring Santa and Mrs. Claus this year. So they've been very helpful this year," Lindbo said. "And then we'll also have coupons down at La Quinta that they can pick up and use that evening here at downtown."
Also new is a craft show at United Pantry from 4 to 8 p.m. United Pantry will also have holiday food sampling and hot tea. Fiancee will have another hot beverage for people to try - "hot chocolate spiked just right." Lindbo said people must be 21 or older to have the spiked hot chocolate.
Making their second appearance at the open house will be local fire spinners, weather permitting. The fire spinners will perform at 5:30 p.m. in front of the Taube Museum.
"So we've got a couple new things that we're throwing into the pot this year," Lindbo said.
Along with the entertainment outside the Taube, inside will be an art sale, refreshments and music karaoke.
At 6 p.m. will be the highlight of the evening, literally, as the lighting ceremony of the giant Christmas tree at the end of Main Street will take place. Lindbo said that event is always a big draw, as everyone downtown gathers around and joins in for some carols.
"We light it up, and then we light up Main Street with all the candy cane-wrapped light poles. It's just fun," Lindbo said. "You go out crazy shopping in the morning at 5 a.m., then come spend your evening downtown."
Downtown stores will be open late for added convenience, and there will be free parking in all the city lots.
To wind down for the evening, Off the Vine will feature live jazz from 8:30 to 11 p.m.
Lindbo said it's events like the annual open house that make Minot's downtown, and other downtown areas across the country that do similar things, so special compared to large shopping malls that tend to look similar and offer similar shopping experiences. With that in mind, she hopes as many people as possible will find time to make their way downtown to take a breather from a hectic day of shopping and just enjoy themselves.
"A lot of times the shopping center is similar in the different cities, but every town has a special area that is where is everything started. And here is the heart of Minot, in our little area down here," she said. "We've been told by a lot of people that we have a beautiful downtown. Out of town people that come in, Canadians that come in, they love shopping downtown. So it's nice to hear that."