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Doug's Diggings: Spring Showcase has longer history than billed

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Hudson Star Observer
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Doug's Diggings: Spring Showcase has longer history than billed
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Sunday is the 12th annual Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau's Spring Showcase. The event is at the Hudson Sports & Civic Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.


Some who have been around the community for a while may remember that the event is much older than 12 years –- more about that later.

The showcase has always been a fun event. Of course, there are the 80 businesses hoping to win over new customers. What makes it unique, however, is that those who attend can talk directly to the various local businesses and gain some insights that aren‘t often available -- community business expo of sorts. Many booths offer samples, prizes and information that make for a fun afternoon.

In addition to the businesses, however, there’s a long list of other activities. The event features live entertainment, free kids activities, drawings and prizes.

Free activities for kids include, among other things, cookie decorating with County Market, paint a Piggy Bank with Associated Bank, pet live critters with Carpenter Nature Center and balloon tying with wandering clowns Bullseye and ShyAnn of Anderson Heating.

Stage entertainment includes:

--12 p.m.: revitalize old furniture, tips and techniques with Farmhouse Inspired.

--12:30 p.m.: Makin’ moves with The Phipps Dance Program.

--1 p.m.: live critters and river life with Carpenter Nature Center.

--2 p.m.: Hudson High Swing Choir.

--2:30 p.m.: Hudson High Harmony.

--3 p.m.: University of Minnesota Raptor Center.

--4 p.m.: raffle drawing.

The raffle is unique in that only 500 tickets will be sold. Participants have a great chance to win one of the many great prizes including an iPad Air, Mall of America overnight package, movie night package, rain garden package and a gas grill and meat package.

The Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau does a great job of staging this event and I suspect it will again be very successful.

The headline on this column raises the question about the length of the event. The Chamber is billing this as the 12th annual. No doubt that is true –- to some extent.

The first such “showcase” event was actually staged back in 1985 and was advertised as SpringFest. The first event was actually put together by the Hudson Star-Observer and co-sponsored by the Chamber. The event ran for a number of years, but eventually died off. A few years later, the Chamber revised the event -– apparently 12 years ago –- and renamed it Spring Showcase.

I took a look back at the 1985 event and found that it was quite similar to what is done today. The first event, However, was held at Hudson High School. It was staged in the gymnasium and commons area of the school. The first event advertised that 60 businesses would be featured. In those early days a Twin Cities television celebrity was brought into the mix. The 1985 event featured Barry ZeVan, a well-known weather personality from WTCN-TV in the Twin Cities.

The main stage entertainment for the day included: Pat Fletcher Dancers, Roberts Ribbon Reapers 4-H, Hudson High School choir, Helping Hands 4-H, middle school choir, Rock Elementary choir, St. Croix Valley Fitness, Heritage Quartet and a grand finale style show. FYI, The Heritage Quartet was a group of four local singers –- Beth Holmes, Tom Dahle, Carl Meincke and Carol Repulski (who later became Carol Dahle). Another stage in the commons area had various businesses offering demonstrations.

The hours were a bit different, running from noon to 5:30 p.m. (today’s is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.).

The crowds were similar. It has always been a popular event with the public. The 1985 event was estimated to have drawn 4,000 people. Not sure who made that estimate –- could have been me! The actual crowd was probably closer to 3,000 which about what Spring Showcase draws each year.

Anyway, for some of us old timers, this could be the something close to the 30th Spring Showcase!

So if you’re looking for something fun Sunday afternoon, attend the annual Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau's Spring Showcase at the Hudson Sports & Civic Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Doug Stohlberg
Doug Stohlberg has been part of the Hudson Star-Observer since 1973 and has been editor since 1987. He worked at the New Richmond News from 1971 to 1973. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.
(715) 808-8600