Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Focusing on festive Faribault December 11, 2015

Looking down Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault.

Looking down Central Avenue in historic downtown Faribault.

IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK a lot like Christmas in historic downtown Faribault, despite the lack of snow.

Peanuts characters adorn the former Kay's Floral building on the corner of Central Avenue and Fourth Street/Minnesota State Highway 60.

A Peanuts theme plays on the windows of the former Kay’s Floral building at the corner of Central Avenue and Fourth Street/Minnesota State Highway 60.

Evergreen boughs adorn wrought iron fences. Snowflake lights and holiday banners hang from vintage style street lamps. White lights drape trees, creating a festive mood. And, throughout the downtown, merchants showcase Christmas displays in storefront windows. There’s something magical about a business district transformed for the holidays.

Lights adorn trees in the downtown including next to the Signature Bar & Grill, Faribault's version of "Cheers." Here you'll find, in my opinion, the best pizza in town.

Lights wrap trees in the downtown including next to the Signature Bar & Grill, Faribault’s version of “Cheers.” Here you’ll find, in my opinion, the best pizza in town.

A snippet of the festive window display at Vohs Floors.

A snippet of the festive window display at Vohs Floors, which celebrates 70 years in business in 2016. Harry Vohs started the business in his living room. The second-generation flooring store is owned by his son, Karl, and Karl’s wife, Ann.

Even the clothing on the mannequins in The Crafty Maven display is vintage.

The Crafty Maven created this window display for the vintage theme division of the holiday window decorating contest. The display highlights businesses that were open in Faribault when sisters and Maven owners, Beth Westerhouse and Dee Bjork, were growing up here. Many of those businesses are no longer open. The Crafty Maven also will close in January.

Wednesday evening, in balmy weather that is more September-like than December, I grabbed my camera in an attempt to capture some of the magic that is Faribault. Mine is a city of some 23,000 that takes pride in its downtown, a place of aged, well-kept buildings. There’s a sense of history here, a sense of community connection. Small town appeal.

Santa at Vohs Floors.

Santa inside Vohs Floors.

From sleigh rides to visits with Santa to a holiday window decorating contest and more, there’s much to see and do. Faribault Main Street and downtown merchants are working hard to welcome locals and visitors alike with “Hometown Holidays” events.

The Paradise Center for the Arts presents "Twice the Cheer: A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever."

Paradise Community Theatre presents “Twice the Cheer: A Charlie Brown Christmas and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” this weekend at the Paradise Center for the Arts.

This Saturday, for example, you can participate in the following activities:

Keepers Antiques

Keepers Antiques shows some holiday glitz in its window display.

Wedding and party glam spotlighted at Weddings by Deb.

Wedding and party glam spotlighted at Weddings by Deb.

Festively dressed dolls snug at sewing machine at B & J Sewing Center.

Festively dressed dolls snug a sewing machine at B & J Sewing Center.

If you’ve never been to Faribault, come, spend an afternoon and/or evening here in a city that’s all decked out for the holidays. Meander through our one-of-a-kind shops. Enjoy the hospitality of friendly merchants. Celebrate the magic of the season in southeastern Minnesota.

BONUS PHOTOS:

This winter wonderland in the window of Dufour Cleaners was voted the all-around favorite in the holiday window decorating contest.

This winter wonderland in the window of Dufour’s Cleaners was voted the all-around favorite in the holiday window decorating contest. Thousands of cotton balls were used to create the snow in the scene.

Studio 14 Salon & Spa placed first in the Peanuts themed division of the window decorating competition.

Studio 14 Salon & Spa placed first in the Peanuts theme division of the window decorating competition.

Here's the other side of the Peanuts display at Studio 14.

Here’s the other side of the Peanuts display at Studio 14.

Charlie Brown and crew also occupy a window space at the Paradise Center for the Arts.

Charlie Brown and crew also occupy a window space at the Paradise Center for the Arts. The PCA won for best vintage theme.

Nearby is this holiday display at Paul Swenson Portraits.

Nearby is this holiday window at Paul Swenson Portraits.

A vintage sled rests in a front window at Vohs Floors,

A vintage sled rests in a front window at Vohs Floors.

The Crafty Maven created this window display for the vintage themed division of the holiday window decorating contest. The display highlights businesses that were in Faribault when Maven sisters and owners Beth Westerhouse and Dee Bjork were growing up here.

An overview of the vintage themed window display at The Crafty Maven.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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36 Responses to “Focusing on festive Faribault”

  1. Marilyn Says:

    I really, really like the blue and white door surround in the second photo. Classic, restrained and both an invitation and a prayer.

  2. Almost Iowa Says:

    One of the big joys of Christmas in the 50’s and 60’s was the wonderful way that stores decorated their windows. We would always make it a point to spend an evening downtown.

    By the way, did you catch the Christmas Train this year?

    • I don’t remember holiday decorated windows at all from my youth. Rather, we would drive through Tangle Town, a residential neighborhood of curvy streets near my grandpa’s house in Redwood Falls, to see Christmas lights.

      No, I didn’t see the Christmas Train. Did you? One of these years…

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    Thank you for sharing. This is a district possibility for this Saturday afternoon…$5 for snacks – oh yeah!

    • We’d love to have you and Cyndie visit Faribault. Maybe I’ll see you out and about. Definitely try to get up to Shattuck. Just getting inside the lovely old buildings decorated for Christmas is a treat. Love the figure skating show also.

  4. Loving the Festive Photos – Puts Me Right In the Spirit, Touches My Heart and Makes Me Smile 🙂 – thanks so much for sharing. Happy Weekend – Enjoy!

  5. treadlemusic Says:

    Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown…the gang!!!! Must be Christmas (in spite of what the White House says). Love all and don’t miss the snow. A lot of downtown areas have heated sidewalks which do away with the snow, for the most part!!!!!

  6. Sandra Says:

    Thank you for the wonderful pictures. My daughter is performing in the show at the Paradise and my son and I spent time walking downtown just the other evening. It is a wonder of lights and cheer as we welcome Christmas.

    • I’m going to the play this weekend, so I will be certain to note your daughter’s role. My daughters were angels in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, performed at Trinity Lutheran Church 24 years ago. They were four and six and darling angels. This show will bring back lots of wonderful memories.

  7. Jackie Says:

    Loving the look of downtown Faribault! Love the window with the wedding dress, beautiful display! The weather has really made it easy to be out and about enjoying all the festivities…..now if only we had snow, even just a little would be nice 🙂
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful festive city…looks amazing!

  8. Littlesundog Says:

    What a festive street view, and winter window scenes! You really capture the essence of winter/Christmas in your photographs, Audrey. Not many towns in this part of the country decorate much for the holidays. Thank you for sharing your neck of the woods with us!

  9. Dee Bjork Says:

    As always Audrey you do a beautiful job making downtown Faribault look enchanting. You’re a wonderful hometown booster! Thank you for the beautiful photos.

  10. Don Says:

    Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Love the pictures! I like a town that decorates its streets and businesses that decorate their windows. It brings back the flavor of the town! I especially like your picture of the flexible flyer sled ( at least it looks like one but I could be wrong) that I spent hours riding on in my youth. I suppose that makes me vintage too!

  11. Yet again, you capture the very essence of small town America.

  12. Sue Ready Says:

    i agree with all the comments how much you are a champion for your hometown. You certainly are a community booster. Let us (readers) know what events/activates you go.to this weekend.

  13. Michael B. Fishman Says:

    I really like the close-up of the mannequins in the first Crafty Maven picture. It’d be interesting to see that photo in black and white.

  14. hotlyspiced Says:

    Gorgeous. I do love this time of year and seeing everything lit up in pretty lights. The problem Down Under, is that we are in summer with daylight saving and so it doesn’t get dark until after 8pm. By the time the lights are shining, I’m ready for bed! I can’t believe you don’t have any snow! xx

  15. Great pictures. I love all of the Peanuts displays

  16. Beth Ann Says:

    So beautiful. I love the Peanuts displays as well. It is such a beautiful time of year.


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