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Charly Haley, Published November 16 2012

Dakota-bred products return to Civic

FARGO – People from all over North Dakota filled the Fargo Civic Center on Friday for the opening night of a three-day sale exclusively featuring items made in the state.

When doors opened at 4 p.m. for the Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase, there was already a line of people waiting to shop from more than 200 North Dakota vendors gathered there.

Products for sale included food, jewelry, art, decorations, collectibles and other gifts.

“I try to come every year,” said Mary Gohdes, from Mapleton. She said she looks for her favorite vendors, including Mable’s Taste of Home local foods booth from Fargo.

One of Gohdes’ favorite items she’s found at the Pride of Dakota showcase is from last year, when she bought a charm with a map of Scranton, where her son-in-law lives.

Crystal Vaagen of Fargo said she also loves shopping at Pride of Dakota, a state-run program meant to promote its businesses.

“It’s a great way for people of North Dakota to display their talent,” Vaagen said. “It’s fun shopping, and the stuff is different than what you’d find in a mall setting.”

One booth aimed at selling gifts at the showcase is Pastime Prints, where artist David Paukert from Michigan, N.D., sells his photography in the form of postcards, prints, mugs, coasters and other items. Paukert described his landscape photography as nostalgic and “reflecting the beauty of the North Dakota prairie land.”

Pastime Prints has been showing at Pride of Dakota for 20 years, Paukert said.

“Pride of Dakota is a terrific opportunity to meet many people,” he said.

Debra Quarve is newer to Pride of Dakota but also agrees that the event is a good opportunity for vendors. She owns Bead Boutique in West Fargo and is selling personalized, handmade jewelry.

Ginger Anderson, a vendor from Menoken, has had her booth, Heavenly Scents, in the showcase for 13 years. She sells wood diffusers, soy candles, wickless warmer wax, car air fresheners and “Smelly Jellys,” a type of air freshener originally made for Anderson’s mother when she moved into assisted living and wasn’t allowed to have candles.

The car air fresheners are usually Anderson’s bestselling product at the Fargo showcase, she said. All of the Heavenly Scents products are handmade in a workshop in her parents’ basement.

“I think there’s something to be said about something that’s handmade,” she said.

“We do all of the Pride of Dakota shows. We love them,” Anderson said. “I don’t think there’s a better platform.”

If you go

What: Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcase

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Fargo Civic Center

Info: Admission is $2 or $1 with a reusable bag

Online: For more information, visit www.prideofdakota.nd.gov.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Charly Haley at (701) 235-7311