Masked shoppers carrying bags filled with Pride of Dakota products strolled the aisles of the Pride of Dakota Grand Forks Holiday Showcase at Alerus Center on Saturday, Nov. 7.
Besides face-covering requirements, the protocols of social distancing, one-way aisles and hand-sanitizer stations made shoppers and vendors alike feel safe at the event, according to those attending the annual event.
About 125 vendors were at the Pride of Dakota Grand Forks Holiday Showcase. Last year’s Pride of Dakota Grand Forks Holiday Showcase had about the same number of vendors as this year, according to the Pride of Dakota website. Showcases were held in Jamestown and Dickinson earlier this fall, and one will be held in Bismarck on Dec. 4. Showcases in Minot and Fargo were canceled this year.
The Grand Forks showcase was the third Pride of Dakota event to which Charlotte's Homemade Lefse owner Charlotte Landsem has sold her products, which include lefse and doughnuts, this year. Landsem, of Edmore, participated in similar showcases in Jamestown and Dickinson, she said.
The Pride of Dakota Showcases are a major source of sales for her, according to Landsem, who said, while traffic Saturday was lighter than it typically is during the Grand Forks event, Landsem’s booth, located near the showcase entry, was busy.
“I’m doing very well,” she said.
Speckled Loon owner Susie Bommersbach also was doing a brisk business on Saturday. Located on a corner a few aisles over from Landsem, Bommersbach, of Grand Forks, had for sale products including wooden signs and socks with sayings stamped on them.
The Pride of Dakota showcase was the first show that Bommersbach has participated in this fall because several others were canceled over concerns about the safety of people gathering indoors during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Alerus Center venue felt safe to Bommersbach because of the many safety protocols that were put in place, she said.
“They’ve got the wide aisles, and everyone has a mask on, and people are not touching things,” said Bommersbach, who participated in the Grand Forks showcase because she has customers who annually buy from her at the event. “Some of my customers don’t shop online, so I’m doing it for them.”
Meanwhile, the showcase is a good way to meet new customers, she said.
Shoppers Nikki Michaud, of Grand Forks, and Ali Kovash, of Fargo, were delighted to find out the Pride of Dakota Grand Forks event was being held this weekend. The two women were driving by Alerus Center when they saw the parking lot filled with cars and learned that the event was inside.
“We love Pride of Dakota,” Michaud said. “We feel very safe here. Everyone's wearing masks, and it’s not overly packed.”
The two like to shop at Pride of Dakota Grand Forks Holiday Showcase, not only because they can buy unique items, but also because they like to support the North Dakota vendors, Kovash said.
“It’s nice to support small businesses that might be struggling,” Kovash said.
The Grand Forks Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase, which began Friday, Nov. 6, continues through Sunday, Nov. 8. Sunday hours are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.