2012 Holiday Showcases set attendance records

BISMARCK – More than 34,000 shoppers – the most ever – participated in the four Pride of Dakota Holiday Showcases in November and December 2012.

“The Bismarck and Fargo Showcases both posted all-time record attendance figures,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “The Bismarck Showcase was not only the largest ever in terms of attendance but also in the number of vendors and number of display booths.”

Goehring said the numbers reflect the growing popularity of the Pride of Dakota program with both shoppers and members.

“More and more North Dakotans look forward every year to taking in one or more of the Holiday Showcases, knowing they will find unique, high quality products while supporting our state's small businesses,” he said. “At the same time, Pride of Dakota member companies know the showcases attract people who are specifically looking for locally-made products.”

Goehring said the new attendance total passed the previous mark by 3,084.

“The Bismarck Showcase was up by almost 3,000 shoppers,” Goehring said. “The new total of 14,107 is the most for any Holiday Showcase ever.”

In Fargo, 9,583 people exceeded the previous record by 1,194. Attendance at the Grand Forks Showcase, held Nov.3-4, was 6,038, down about 160 from the record set last year. The Minot Showcase, held Nov. 10-11, drew 4,283 customers.

Goehring said inclement weather affected the turnout in Grand Forks and especially in Minot.

About 11,500 people received one dollar off their admission cost by bringing their own reusable shopping bags.

The winners of the new Pride of Dakota passport program, sponsored by North Dakota Corn Growers Association, were each awarded $250 in Pride of Dakota bucks. The Fargo Showcase winner was Kim Bernier of Moorhead, MN, who spent her $250 with Givinity Press on a new, original art print. Ray Fleck of Mandan was the Bismarck Showcase winner. He spent his winnings among eight different Pride of Dakota members, including Dakota Slims, Dakota Sun Garden, Mabel's Taste of Home, North Prairie Signature, Prairie Coffee Roasters, Prairiewood Winery, Thunderbird Ranch and Toys N' Things.

Administered by North Dakota Department of Agriculture Marketing and Information Division, the Pride of Dakota program provides member companies with cooperative marketing and promotional events, such as in-store demonstrations, Pride of Dakota Day and the Holiday Showcases, Harvest Showcase and Spring Showcase. The program also provides educational opportunities and representation at regional, national and international marketing expositions. More than 500 North Dakota companies are Pride of Dakota members. More information is available at http://www.prideofdakota.com/.