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A day for every Doris

Calling out the name Doris brought funny looks and a few laughs Wednesday from a crowd of about 60 women in the Red Wing Pottery Museum.

It’s a running joke among members of the Doris Club, a social group united by a shared first name.

The club was in Red Wing for its annual meeting, which included a walkthrough of the Pottery Museum, a hanging basket demonstration and bus tour of local landmarks.

“We focused our program around the history of Red Wing,” said Doris Gruber of Cannon Falls, host of the gathering and a club member for the past four years.

Gruber — a former Red Wing High School business teacher — said she started planning the luncheon and program last fall with a committee of six Doris’s from Red Wing, Zumbrota and other cities across the state. The club has met once a year in a new city since 2002.

“It really is a unique idea,” said Red Wing Mayor Dan Bender, who was asked to present a formal greeting to the club on behalf of the city. He said he was glad to see the newly renovated Pottery Museum being used as a gathering space and shown off to such a diverse crowd.

Doris Bailey travelled more than hour from her home in New Hope, Minnesota, located northwest of the Twin Cities. A member since 2000, she said she enjoys the yearly meetings and catching up with her fellow Dorises.

“It’s just been the most fun thing I’ve ever been involved in,” Bailey said.

Gruber gave special thanks to the Pottery Museum’s Larry Peterson, Diane Hallstrom and Robin Wipperling for helping prepare the day’s activities, and to Red Wing Confectionery, Uffda Shop and other local businesses for providing raffle prizes and gifts.

Founded in 1995 by a group of 10 like-named women, the Doris Club has since grown to more than 200 members in Minnesota, Wisconsin and South Dakota, according to Doris Cress of Cottage Grove, Minnesota. They range in age from 19 to 96.

Actress Doris Day also was inducted as an honorary member, Cress added.

Though the moniker was popular in the 1920s, the number of newborns named Doris in the U.S. has dropped drastically in the decades since. It failed to make the top 1,000 baby names list for 2013, according to the Social Security Administration.

Still, club members said they will continue to celebrate their now uncommon name, including plans to promote the group on social media.

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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