Ryan Porchardt, 3 1/2, of Porter smiled as he sat on Santa’s lap inside Bethel Fellowship Church.
Winning bidders at the One More Time thrift store’s silent auction were busy loading their items. Ruth Bot, right, serves a Sloppy Joe for Ralph Hagen at the lunch at Bethel Fellowship Church during last Saturday’s North Pole Extravaganza. Loralee Miller looked over the merchandise at the Mary Louise vintage store.Tegan Gillund and her daughter Sophie admired the large display of Dickens houses at the B Lenore store during the North Pole Extravaganza last Saturday. Nikki Traen, left, and Lori Crowley were all smiles as vendors at Bethel Fellowship Church. The two make homemade jewelry for their Pretty Unique and Happy Crafter business.Darlene Josephson of Minneota found some dog-gone good deals at This and That Recreated as owner Shirley Gladis looks on.

Shoppers get into the spirit

Many area residents took advantage of the mild weather on Saturday to do some early holiday shopping during Minneota’s annual North Pole Extravaganza.

“There were a lot of people out today. We were really busy here in the morning,” said Barb Rye of the Arched Door, who co-coordinates the event with Jan Faris.

The event, which was originally designed 41 years ago as a way for hunting widows to enjoy the weekend and sell some of their goodies, has been getting bigger and better each year. At Bethel Fellowship Church, several children stood by the front door in anticipation of the arrival of Santa Claus via fire truck.

Some of the children sat on Santa’s lap and relayed to him their wishes for Christmas, while parents and grandparents took photos.

When Owen Malikowski, 4, was asked what his request to Santa was, he replied with a wide smile, “It’s a secret”. The church was a busy place throughout the event with vendors selling their goods, a Sloppy Joe lunch being served, a silent auction and the St. Edward’s bake sale being held, and of course, Santa Claus visiting.

“We had a lot of people here,” said Faris.

“We had over 20 vendors this year. It helped that the weather cooperated, too.” Many business owners and workers mentioned the increase in numbers of shoppers as a positive sign. At the VFW where the One More Time thrift store’s silent auction was being held, winning bidders were busy loading items of all types and sizes into their vehicles.

“We had a very good turnout,” said Barb Guttormsson. “We had nice weather, which brought a lot of people out.” The silent auction, which featured over 100 items, was originally slated to be held outdoors during Boxelder Bug Days but was postponed due to inclement weather.

So they moved it to the North Pole Extravaganza weekend and held it in the VFW where there was more room. Several other local businesses decorated their stores in a holiday theme, held various specials, and offered refreshments.

“We had a good day here,” said Jenny Buysse of J’s Dream, “even better than last year.”

Mark Fonteyn of Minneota loaded a wicker set into his truck following One More Time’s silent auction held at the VFW. Staff photo by Scott Thoma.

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The Minneota Mascot
Address: 201 N. Jefferson
Minneota, MN 56264

Phone:(507) 872-6492