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Wines and Steins marks director's last stint in position




The fourth annual Wines and Steins also will be Traci Stanford's last.

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The fourth annual Wines and Steins also will be Traci Stanford's last.

Stanford, the executive director of the Downtown Hays Development Corp. for approximately the last two years, is leaving her post Sept. 20. She resigned last week after her husband, Jerrod Stanford, accepted a job offer in Jackson, Tenn.

"Just a true blessing," Stanford said, looking back at her time with DHDC. "I worked downtown when I was in college. Big part of this leadership role, and being able to inspire people to do new things, create new events, bring the market downtown, has just been a true blessing. I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Except, perhaps, another successful fundraiser Saturday. Wines and Steins raised approximately $15,000 for DHDC last year.

This year, 11 businesses -- and perhaps one more -- will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday for those who reserved a ticket to stroll downtown through the Chestnut Street District and sample wine and beer.

Registration is from 6 to 6:30 p.m. in the Emprise Bank building parking lot. Tickets are $50 each, and a reservation can be made by calling DHDC at (785) 621-4171; by email at DHDC@DowntownHays.com; or stopping by the Welcome Center at 27th and Vine.

Prizes will be awarded, and there will be a celebration and auction from 9 to 11 p.m. at the Emprise Bank parking lot. The list of prizes includes dinner packages, downtown gift certificates, gift baskets, spa packages, canvas photo art, sports packages and a smart TV.

At last year's event, plans for a downtown pavilion were announced.

"This is how we continue to grow. This is how people can continue to support the downtown community, just as they support other areas of town," Stanford said. "Downtown Hays really does offer a quality of life that is different from anything else.

"We invite everybody to come and support us. If you are a shopper downtown, if you are an advocate of downtown, if you're a business owner downtown, we encourage the support to continue to work for downtown Hays."

It's just that in a few short days, Stanford no longer will be a part of that effort.

"It is bittersweet to be a part of this," Stanford said. "I'm glad God kept me here long enough to be part of this last event.

"Hopefully, it just continues to grow. ... I'm excited to see downtown Hays continue to grow."