Flash mob surprises Winterfest crowdLUVERNE — Shoppers were shopping or resting their feet, visiting with friends and sampling treats when, what to their wondering ears would they hear? A half-dozen singers spreading holiday cheer!
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
LUVERNE — Shoppers were shopping or resting their feet, visiting with friends and sampling treats when, what to their wondering ears would they hear? A half-dozen singers spreading holiday cheer!
But wait, there’s more singers coming — a hundred or more — men and women alike. They’re decking the halls in harmonious delight.
It had been done other places, but never at Winterfest; and, based on reaction, it was simply the best.
Planning for the flash mob — people who come randomly out of a crowd, form a group and entertain through song or dance — began about a year ago with the hope of pulling off the secret plan Saturday morning at the Luverne Elementary School commons. The place was bustling with shoppers visiting the more than 100 craft booths, children taking part in Santa’s Workshop fun, and vendors selling everything from jewelry and gifts to Christmas cookies and holiday decor.
Barb Antoine, choir director at Luverne’s First Presbyterian Church, coordinated the music and assisted the Luverne Area Chamber of Commerce in organizing what may have been southwest Minnesota’s largest flash mob event ever.
Antoine, who was one of the initial people at the front of the commons to begin singing, “Deck the Halls,” had the perfect vantage point to see the audience reaction.
“At first it was, ‘Hmmm, what’s happening here?’ Then, as people started coming forward, I saw smiles start to come out,” said Antoine minutes after the flash mob took place. “I saw people singing with us that weren’t even a part of our group, which is what we had hoped it would do — get people in the spirit.”
Even she was surprised by the number of people who joined in the event, saying she’d hoped to have enough singers to move forward with the plan, and was anticipating about 50 people would participate. She was thrilled when the group met for the first time Saturday morning — just half an hour before they were to perform — and the singers filled the choir room.
“Jane (Wildung-Lanphere, Luverne Chamber director) sent the music out to all of the church choirs and the high school choir,” Antoine said. “We’ve all been practicing a little on our own.”
Antoine selected “Deck the Halls” for the group to perform because most people would be familiar with the tune.
“That’s kind of what this craft show is all about — getting stuff to deck our halls, to decorate our homes,” she added.
In addition to the craft show and Santa’s Workshop events, the Rock County Fine Arts Association hosted the first-ever Winterfest Snowball Cupcake Fine Art Contest. Children and adults were asked to use the confectionary snowball-shaped treats in an artful design, and entries ranged from a choo-choo train made of snowball treats to a snowman, to a rainbow with pink clouds and a trio of women’s high-heeled shoes.
Julia Ferguson, an 11-year-old from Steen, garnered first place in the category of children ages 12 and younger, for her Candy Express entry that contained six snowballs lined up to form a choo-choo train.
“I just was thinking that a train might be cool,” said Ferguson of the design she dreamed up the night before the contest. In addition to the snowballs, she used gummies, coconut, frosting, licorice and sprinkles in her entry, which covered the entire area of a cake pan. Ice cream cones helped to create Christmas trees, reindeer lollipops were incorporated into the scene and a marshmallow guy was added just for fun, she said.
“I’m probably going to take a picture of it and save it for a little while,” she said of her entry. “I just thought it was a really fun experience.”
Ferguson’s younger brother, Kyle, also had an entry in the contest. The 9-year-old planned to build a house with the snowballs, but when it fell apart during construction, he said it looked more like a fort. In addition to four snowballs, his entry included coconut sprinkles, reindeer suckers, marshmallows, frosting and ice cream cones.
Kyle Ferguson wasn’t quite sure about eating his entry after the contest, saying that he might just eat the reindeer suckers.
Brothers Casey, 9, and Carter Sehr, 5, earned second and third place, respectively, in the snowball cupcake contest for their age division. With help from their mom and grandma, the boys decorated their cupcakes in coconut, frosting, pretzels and a few other items.
“I used M&Ms for the eyes and belly buttons,” said Casey, who made a snowman with three snowball cupcakes. The snowman had arms made of pretzels and molded Starburst candies and Airheads for the scarf.
The snowman looked good enough to eat, and Casey thought he might dig into it after the contest — trying, of course, to avoid the coconut.
Carter used one snowball cupcake to make a reindeer — and not just any reindeer, he pointed out.
“It has a red gumdrop for the nose — because it’s Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer!” he said enthusiastically.
Carter said he wanted to save the reindeer, agreeing that perhaps he would leave it out for Santa Claus on Christmas morning.
Winner in the adult division in the Snowball Cupcake contest was Tammy Makram, who made the trio of high-heeled shoes; while winners of the youth contest (ages 12 to 18) were Allison Schandelmeier, first, Evon Prekker, second, and Andrew Prekker, third.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.