Wines and Steins draws crowd downtown
By ABBY BELDEN
It was a common sight to see people strolling Chestnut Street District on Saturday night for the Wines and Steins event.
The event, in its third year, featured more than 10 stops in the district, in which reservation holders could stroll to and from businesses between 6 and 9 p.m.
The shops included in the event were Bella Luna Boutique, C.S. Post & Co., First National Bank, the Furniture Look, Gellas Diner & Lb. Brewing Co., Kuhn's Diamond Jewelers, Paisley Pear, Simply Charmed, Singers and Tom's Music House.
Each location featured a wine, beer and hors d'oeuvre for the reservation holders.
The stops also offered the chance to do some shopping.
For Aaron and Janie White, it was their first year attending the event.
The couple used to live in Salina but has made the transition to Hays after Aaron accepted the executive director position for the Ellis County Coalition for Economic Development.
"It's wonderful down here," Janie White said. "I love the individuality of the stores."
Aaron said the couple heard of the event as a result of sharing close quarters with the DHDC, housed a few doors down from his office at Hays Welcome Center.
"It's absolutely incredible," Aaron said of the event. "The DHDC has great plans for downtown. It's great that the community can come out and support it."
The shop owners were kept busy with the sold-out event.
"We have had a wonderful turnout," said Joslyn Brungardt. "We've had a full house."
Brungardt, who owns Paisley Pear with Mike McIntyre, said Paisley Pear has participated in Wines and Steins all three years and had heard good comments about the event.
"It's worth the ticket," Brungardt said.
Dave Ward, Hays, said the event was not only a great idea, but a great way to meet fellow retailers and also raise funds.
"I think it's a great idea," Ward said. "We need to stay together, and they need to work as a team downtown to keep it viable."
After the stroll concluded, it was time for the silent and live auctions at the event tent, which was in the Emprise Bank parking lot. The celebration and auction began at 9 p.m.
The auctions featured a variety of packages and items. A majority of the items were donated from local businesses, but a couple of the packages, such as the Prairie Fire Lodge package and the Kansas City Chiefs package, would take the winners outside Hays.
The value of the items and packages in the two auctions varied, some valued at $20, with some at more than $2,000.
Traci Konrade, executive director of the DHDC, said all of the proceeds from the auctions go toward downtown events or projects.
The DHDC revealed a plan to build a 3,100-square-foot pavilion during the auction. The pavilion's proposed location is between Union Pacific Park and the grain elevators.
The DHDC received $250,000 from an anonymous benefactor, who challenged the DHDC to raise the money and match the donation.
A reverse auction, which raised $38,000, began the fundraising for the pavilion.
Konrade said the DHDC will begin to open the fundraising to the public.
Overall, Konrade said the event was good.
"I couldn't ask for a better night," she said. "It was a very successful event."