Downtown Beloit Holidazzle Event Draws Big Crowds

Jean Oseth of Akuba Studios, shows some of her items to Regina Dunkin at the Villager Gallery and Framing in downtown Beloit Friday. The Villager Gallery was one of the businesses that hosted specialty vendors during the Holidazzle event.

 

BELOIT—Businesses were open late Friday in downtown Beloit, and merchants were offering one-of-a-kind items during the 19th annual Holidazzle event.

More than 25 locations participated in the Downtown Beloit Association Holidazzle, offering sales, hosting independent craft merchants and offering activities for kids and their families.

There were tons of events for both adults and children. When people were done shopping they were given the chance to come back to the Downtown Business Association building, show their receipt to enter into a raffle and get a free drink ticket to 5-Bar.

There was a free trolley running throughout downtown, and a hot chocolate bar to keep people warm. Santa and Mrs. Claus was also there taking pictures with children at Walnut Creek Awards. Children could also write a letter to Santa and Santa would actually write one back.

Downtown Beloit Association Executive Director Shauna El-Amin said that they started planning and setting up for this event in October by booking businesses and vendors.

“We put a call out saying we are accepting vendors but we also have a huge database from our farmers market to other crafters and other businesses in the area,” El-Amin said.

She said Holidazzle is a good way to kick off your shopping for Christmas.

“You can get all your shopping done in one night,” she said.

El-Amin said that each year Holidazzle has a featured vendor and this year the featured vendor was Shabby Chic Farmgirl.

Joan Siekierski, one of the owners of Bagels and More, spent her night helping children and adults decorate cookies.

Siekierski said that she has been doing the cookie decoration event every year for the last 10 years. She and her employees make 300 to 400 cookies and they let anybody who wants to decorate a cookie. She said she takes photos of the cookies and posts them on her Facebook page.

“It’s a fun event and a lot of people look forward to it every year,” she said.

She said that she could not pick what her favorite cookie was because they were all her favorite.

“We have artists, and you cannot judge an artist,” she said while watching the children decorate their cookies. “We have all types of people come in; some people just want the cookie and they just slap a little bit of frosting on and then some people spend ten minutes decorating to get the perfect cookie.”

Abby Miller said she has been going to the Holidazzle ever since she was a sophomore in high school.

“I was a part of the concert choir at Beloit Memorial so we came down every year and we caroled,” she said. “But I continued to come even after I graduated because it’s such a good event.”

She said that she was happy she went to Bath and Body Fusion because it was the first Holidazzle and she was excited for the owner to experience her first Holidazzle.

“I wanted the owner to be able to experience the community and how many people come out to celebrate,” Miller said.

Jennifer Ralston the owner of Bath and Body Fusion said that this was her first year at the Holidazzle. She is originally from Rockford and she said she was having a very good time.

Ralston said that she makes all the products she sells in the stores. She said she is best known for her skincare and they ship worldwide.

“I have been formulating for 20 years now and I am about to get my diploma out of the UK in organic formulation, so I do skincare differently around here,” Ralston said.

She said she is really passionate about educating the community on why natural skincare is better.

She said that her first Holidazzle was amazing and her store was packed with so many people and she couldn’t have been more grateful .

Many different businesses were at the Holidazzle and there are many more events coming up and all of that information can be found on the Downtown Beloit Association’s website: https://downtownbeloit.com/us/