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Worthington's Dayton House ushers in holiday season early

Brenda Hurlbut, owner of AX Photo in Worthington, displays some of the items she will have available at the Historic Dayton House Holiday Extravaganza.

WORTHINGTON -- With snowflakes in the air this week, it's easy to believe that Christmas is just nine weeks away. And organizers of an event slated for next week hope that people are ready to get a head start on their holiday shopping.

The Dayton House Holiday Extravaganza -- a shopping, decorating and socializing experience -- will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Historic Dayton House, located at 1311 Fourth Ave.

The event will feature vendors from across the region and a wine and cheese bar.

"We've got 16 vendors this year, which pretty much fills up the Dayton House," said Marlene Jueneman, a member of the event committee.

The vendor list is a mixture of past favorites and newcomers: Mary Kay Cosmetics, Pampered Chef, Norwex, Scentsy, Marcy Costello, Tanya's Tasteful Totes, Chic Knits, Missy Moo's Country Couture, Grace Adele, Picket Fence, Prairie Decorating, Mavis Woltjer, Designs by Sandi, dovelyday/Amber Sue Photography, Dorothy Cummings.

One of the newcomers is AX Photo, a Worthington enterprise owned and operated by Brenda Hurlbut. It started out primarily as a film processing shop, but with the advent of digital photography, Hurlbut expanded her business into a photo studio, framing and now more gift and décor items.

"It just complements what we have to offer when people come in for a portrait session," explained Hurlbut about the gift selection. "Our focus is still on the studio and on custom framing --not just studio prints, but custom artwork, too. If someone wants an enlargement done, scanning services, storyboards that are personalized, we can do it here. We have a digital kiosk with instant prints, do passport and immigration photos and have a great selection of frames and albums. 'Capture Today' is our business logo, because we need to remember capture today with cherished photos of our family and friends."

For the Dayton House event, Hurlbut plans to showcase both the services and merchandise that her shop offers.

"We've been getting in some Christmas décor, Circle E candles from Texas, inspirational books, books for children, Santas, snowmen and deer, some greenery, and then we'll be doing some of the specialty items we do here at AX photo," she detailed. "I've also added a napkin line that's a nice quality, made in Germany, with a few coordinating plates. I've been making some blankets for babies and kids."

Hurlbut is excited to be involved with the Holiday Extravaganza, giving her an opportunity to show off her wares and support a local organization.

"We are so fortunate to have such a beautiful place here in Worthington for meetings and social gatherings," she said.

Proceeds from the Holiday Extravaganza go to support operations of the historic abode, which was built in the 1890s by then banker and later retail entrepreneur George Draper Dayton. It was fully restored about 10 years ago and now operates as a non-profit organization.

"This event is an important fundraiser for the Historic Dayton House, which survives solely on its income from event and suite rentals, along with dozens of annual memberships and generous donations from others who appreciate the house's significance to our community," said Jane Moore, president of the Historic Dayton House Board of Directors. "What a great way to bring in many people to the Historic Dayton House for a fun afternoon and evening of shopping and socializing. The Holiday Extravaganza has proven to be a terrific opportunity for people to find some unique items, hang out with friends and support this historic property all at the same time.

"We are extremely thankful for the volunteers who care enough about the House to stage an event like this, and for the others who make so many things possible at the house throughout the year," added Moore.

Advance tickets, eligible for a cash drawing, are available at Hy-Vee Food Store and Lakeshore Clips in Worthington; tickets will also be available at the door for a set donation. Vendor prize drawings will take place during the event.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers can be reached at 376-7327.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

(507) 376-7327