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LONG PRAIRIE ARTS & CRAFTS SHOW
Diane Brandes passes Craft Show baton
to Long Prairie Chamber of Commerce
By Nancy Leasman
Diane Brandes & Luan Thomas-Brunkhorst, director of
Long Prairie Chamber of Commerce.
Thirty years is a good run. As the Long Prairie Arts & Crafts Show and Sell, held annually on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, celebrates its 30th anniversary, founder Diane Brandes looks back on the history of the event.
“My mother-in-law in South Dakota had a craft show the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We went there for every Thanksgiving so we went to her show.”
Hannah (Diane's daughter) & Diane Brandes
Diane enjoyed the show and sell concept and dreamed about having one in Long Prairie, her hometown. “I could do that,” she said, knowing she possessed the skills, talent and determination to organize such an event. “I checked with business people here and they said, ‘No,’ ‘No way to get that to work in Long Prairie.”
As Diane remembers, that attitude just added fuel to the fire. If they said it couldn’t be done, she would do it. She was no stranger to ambitious undertakings. She was the National Director of the Miss Teen Pageant for 15 years. She was also the founder and owner of a catering service known as Parties Plus. It also had a 15-year run and would have gone longer except a career move for her husband, Larry, took them out of town for a few years. Even during those years, Diane continued the craft show.
She thought a pre-Christmas craft show was a good idea and decided to work on it herself. She didn’t wait until fall to start talking with people about the potential for a craft show. In the spring of 1992 she put on hundreds of miles recruiting crafters. She went to existing craft shows throughout the state, chatted with the creative vendors and passed out her business cards. That kind of promotion continued every year for years to come.
Diane’s efforts paid off. Long Prairie’s first Arts & Crafts Show and Sell hosted 75 crafters. “That was in the old school. They filled the main gym, hallways and cafeteria.” From the first show onward, visitors and vendors all enjoyed free coffee. Since both she and her sister Faith Peterson had state food licenses and the catering experience, it was natural to offer food. “The vendors had to eat and so did many who came to the show.”
With the success of the first show Diane could have relaxed and anticipated successful subsequent shows. But that wasn’t her way to do things. She kept recruiting and the second year had 270 booths. “That was probably too many. They were in all the gyms, all the hallways, everywhere.” With the twists and turns in the hallways it was difficult for both vendors and customers to find their way around. Some of the crowd probably didn’t even find all the crafters in the hallways since the main gym and cafeteria were the most popular areas.
By the seventh year there was a new high school and a new layout. The decision was made to use only the gym and commons area. Applicants to participate in the first show in the new Long Prairie High School maxed out the space and Diane started keeping a waiting list. But when the waiting list was more than 100, she knew that only a few would likely be able to replace any who cancelled and stopped keeping the list.
“We had a full house every single year!” There were a few years with bad weather but the only event to be cancelled was the 2020 show, due to the Covid pandemic. Diane said the school custodial staff has always been terrific for clearing the snow for the event and keeping things tidy on the inside as well. A big snowstorm in 2019 meant that some of the vendors couldn’t come. “We still had the show. The crowd still came, and we had a phenomenal crowd!” Some vendors told her that sales were even better that year, and many say Long Prairie is always the best show they do all year.
While Diane was the planner, her family always got involved in the setup, take down, hauling and sign posting. Her husband Larry and daughters, Angela, Hannah and Eva, helped out in ever increasing ways over the years. From helping in the kitchen, to traveling to promote the show, to doing the set up and marking out the booths, they learned it all.
Ten years ago, Diane’s brother Jon Larson who coached youth basketball, took on the kitchen duties as a fundraiser for his teams, with Faith’s help. The boys and their parents helped with the food and serving the customers. Jon moved up in the age groups with his boys and eventually that meant there were varsity players in the kitchen.
For the last thirteen years Diane has continued with double duty, working as the Executive Assistant for a large financial company. Three months ago, she added a new title, grandmother. With the girls grown and into their own careers and Larry serving as the vice president of a St. Paul printing company, it was time to pass the craft show duties on to someone else. Diane talked with Lu Brunkhorst at the Chamber of Commerce and with support from the chamber board, the decision was made for the chamber to take over. Diane agreed to work with them this year.
“We want the crafters to know this will continue,” Diane said. Consistency is key to offering a great shopping experience for the crowd and good sales opportunities for the vendors. With predictions of nationwide merchandise limitations and increasing transportation costs, people in central Minnesota can do what Diane’s family did for many years: “We did much of our Christmas shopping at the Long Prairie Arts & Crafts Show and Sell.”
This year the show will be November 27, 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle High School, 510 9th St. NE in Long Prairie. Expect 150 vendors stocked to the brim with treasures, one-of-a-kind handmade items, and gifts galore.
Welcome New 2021 Chamber Members !
Ona's Alterations - owner Ona Reinbold (Jan)
CIFCA- Community Integrated Family Care Advocates (Jan)
Hensley Inc. - Trucking (Feb)
Hayley & Ray boutique (Feb)
Thunder Lodge (new ownership- Feb)
Lennes Bros. Electric Inc. (Feb)
Les Levin- individual (Feb)
Lending Hands Community Services (March)
Eternal Arrangements by Erin (March)
Enterprise CP (March)
Golpen LTD- Deputy Registrar (April)
Salon Serenity (April)
Little Rose Custom Creations (April)
Prairie Family Dental (May)
Central Todd County Care Center (May)
Custom Transfer INC. (May)
Daybreak Foods (May)
Midway Storage Units (June)
Freshwater Education District (July)
Prairie Family Dental (August)
Camp S'more Campground & Sportsman’s Condo (Sept)
Maverick Wood Products (September)
Viva Tobacco & more LLC (September)
Prairie Hobbies & Games (October)
Meridian Services (October)
Boss Nails (October)
Prairie Ridge Inn (November)
Northern Star Cooperative (December)
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Chamber Director: Luan Thomas-Brunkhorst
Chamber Office Hours:
IN & OUT OF THE OFFICE due to visits etc.
Monday - Friday 9am - 3:00pm
Please contact me at (320) 732-2514.
Location: @ the LP Library 42 3rd Street North (click on red for google map)
"Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.” ―Germany Kent
Long Prairie Senior Center - 320 732-2282 Manager: Jodi Dixon Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There will be lunches served on Thursdays
See calendar below
Drivers Exams - Back in Long Prairie:
FYI: PLEASE be patient with the online sign up. The appointments fill quickly. They are only allowed to have limited amount of people taking the test in the room. Try and try again to sign up. Check the website on a daily basis. *Hints from the testing supervisors.
QUILT RAFFLE & MORE - Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra
**Fundraiser for the Long Prairie Chamber Orchestra**
COST: $5.00 for 2 tickets
Drawing, Sunday, February 13, 2022
Jagged Xs - Quilt- 72 x 82 - D&J Bebault
1 Dozen Roses - Coborn's - Long Prairie
Photo taken by Jim Downes
Photo taken by Jim Downes
$50 Cash - American Heritage Bank
$50 Cash - Central MN Credit Union Bank
$50 Cash - Mid-Central National Bank
$50 Cash - Minnesota National Bank
$30 - Wine Certificate - Dragon Willow Winery
Maple Syrup - Hans & Lynn Kroll
Need NOT be present to win!
Sponsored by LP Combined Fund a 501c3.
Purchase your tickets from the Long Prairie Area Chamber of Commerce- 320 732 2514 and other board members.
Email or call Carol Duke 386/466/4389 cduke@ meltel.net
or email Chris Hebert email@example.com
Call the Chamber or stop by for more info.
Project Ideas? Grant possibilities!
Have you heard? All 5 RSDP regions are open for project ideas now through Feb 14. Award decisions will be made this spring.
What's YOUR idea to grow the sustainability of your Greater MN community? http://z.umn.edu/RSDPideabrief
RECYCLE YOUR LIGHTS & EXTENSION CORDS: LAST day January 28th
Bring your non-functioning lights and extension cords to the Chamber office for Bites for Lights!
Todd Wadena Electric COOP is teaming up with Brainerd's Sunrise Sertoma Club's Bites for Lights this year. Because they are so far away from Long Prairie, they said that we could have a drop off station here at the Chamber - 42 3rd St. N
All of the string lights and old extension cords will be recycled and stay out of landfills. You can drop off your donation in our lobby, 9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Monday - Friday or when the Library is open.
*We are only accepting string lights and extension cords.
OUTDOOR ICE SKATING RINK – Fundraising update
** $530.00 left for the matching gift**
Grand Opening was Sunday January 23, 2022. Harley VanRuler served his famous cookies and homemade cocoa. Ryan Hanson sharpened skates, and local families came and skated despite the cold. If anyone wants to skate, the rink is open. There are some rough spots where we have placed cones. Please be careful.
We also are looking for volunteers to help with supervision at the warming house. I will be sending out more information about this today.
I will be there today with my boys after 3:30pm.
MATCHING GIFT: For every $100 donated by a community member, there is an anonymous donor who will match up to $2500.
We are up to $1,980. We still need to raise $530.00 more to meet that matching gift.
Make check payable to the City of Long Prairie, memo: Outdoor Ice Rink Send to: LP Chamber of Commerce 42 3rd Street N, Long Prairie, MN 56347
UPDATED LIST OF DONORS: We have raised over $7000.00- that includes the Hockey Association donation of $2500 We would like to thank all who bought raffle tickets. Your names are not mentioned on the list, but because of your generosity, we raised about $1,000 from the raffle.
We would like to thank the following donors. Who have contributed about $1,980 in donations
- Billy Dinkel
- Rohde's Midway Gas Bar & Grill (water heater)
- Todd Wadena Electric Coop (water heater)
- LP Packing (water heater)
- Dawn Rasmussen-Graves
- Terry & Linda Mentele
- Dragon Willow Winery
- John Petron JCP Farms
- Northern Star Coop
- Lennes Electric
- Central MN Credit Union
- Salon Serenity
- The Sellnow Family
- Terri Jo Peery
- Liberty Diversified International
- David & Marilyn Bengtson
- Town & Country Homemakers
- Doug and Bobbie Jo Freie
- Ryan & Kelly Hanson
- Jeff Koehn - Midway Storage
- June Elmes
- David & Lisa Wright
- Rosemary & Richard Robinson
- Brenda & Mark Faust
- Dr. and Mrs. Richard Wagner
- Michael Wagner
- Ruth Wingeier & John King
Even though we have the rink paid for, we still have many needs. See our wish list below. If you would prefer to donate items on the wish list that would be perfect as well. In-kind donations would be ideal too.
Thank you to the people who anonymously donated space heaters. The warming house is WARM.
Thank you, STS, for the benches and wall divider.
Thank you, Fleet supply, for supplies and ACE Hardware for paint and rollers. Thank you, LP Lumber, for the 2 x 4s for the walls.
Thank you Duane Towle- ECO Water for the water dispenser in the warming house.
*anonymous 15,000 donor
* Harley VanRuler is making a mini-Zamboni and MORE.
* Les Levin is getting a water heater set up in the warming house and MORE.
* Jeff Koehn helped with everything & brought mats from the LPHA to the rink.
ICE RINK WISHES:
- water heater (PAID)
- signage- $200 - $1,000
- learn to skate devices - $30-60.00 (They are being built.)
- rental skates - in-kind donations of skates in the attic, closet or under the bed (shelving as well)
- extra helmets
- in kind donations of helmets or second hand helmets
- shovels - $51.00-65.00 (good quality shovels
Upcoming Chamber & Community Events
Want More Information on Community Gardens? Call the Chamber of Commerce 320 732-2514 Follow this link for photos and more information about the Community Gardens.
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