Snow people displays add holiday touch to Downtown


It's amazing what truly creative people can do with some unwanted boxes, scrap lumber and a few items that show up in the garage, yard or basement.
Those who want proof have only to walk down main street in Concordia and take a look at the snow people displays in front of Threads, Britt's and Cloud County Convention & Tourism.
Inspiration for the displays which add a nice holiday touch to the town's Christmas decorations came just shortly after Halloween this year. Fran Trost, owner of Threads, and Tammy Britt, owner of Britt's were discussing the success they had when they put up a direction sign to their businesses for trick or treaters.
"It brought more people in," Fran said. "More people noticed this than anything we'd ever done."
Consequently, the two business women decided they wanted to build another attraction with a Christmas theme and the idea of building snowmen or as it turned out, snow women, with direction signs nearby was developed.
Fran's husband Larry helped with the basic construction using no particular pattern other than what was in Fran's head. Cost was minimal, using lumber found in Threads basement, wood from an old playhouse/fort in the Trost yard and milk cans that their children had once found in a creek to hold the direction signs.
While Larry did the carpentry portion of the project, Fran and her sister, Ruth Gardner of Topeka, and Susie Haver, who decided Travel and Tourism also needed a snow person took over the decorating. In addition to the signs and snow people, greenery, red ribbon and colored lights enhance the displays. Fran said the whole project took them approximately three full days.
The first week the display was hit by a huge windstorm, taking the signs and the snow people down. People were  asking about them before Fran and crew even had time to reinforce. The snow people were then weighted down with concrete as were the signs in the milk cans and a small fence was built around part of the area.
Two of the snow persons have been named. Since Britt's has become well known for Tammy's delicious baked items, her snow person was christenened "Miss Cookie." She has biscuit cutters for eyes, wire whisks for arms and a spatula for a neck scarf.
Travel and Tourism's snow person also took on a feminine personality and since part of this business is promoting Kansas, she was named Dorothy after the heroine in "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz." Like Dorothy, she is wearing her "no place like home" red slippers.
Threads snow person, wearing a top hat and holding a bright red snow shovel is definitely a snowman. However, Fran hasn't named him yet. She is thinking of having a contest, letting customers vie for the honor of choosing his name.
Different specials will be featured on the signs which point to Threads, Britt's, Flower Gallery, Luxe Leopard and other businesses. This week Britt's is featuring Elf on a Shelf and Threads is having a BOGO (buy one, get one half off). Luxe Leopard has a Santa's Mailbox.
Although the snow people are only seasonal, Fran said the plan is to use the area they now occupy to draw attention to other holidays through the year, such as big hearts for Valentine's Day and Uncle Sams for Independence Day.
The whole idea is to create interest in downtown businesses and the snow people appear to be doing their part.   


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