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A stroll back in time

The image for this year’s Holiday Stroll ornament is “Postcard from Red Wing,” based on a Goodhue Historical Society photo.1 / 2
Vicki Riester (left), Kac Turvold and Ann Smereczniak(front) have been painting the ornaments for the past couple months. Their goal is to complete 200 of them in time for the Holiday Stroll. (Republican Eagle photo by Michael Brun)2 / 2

Wreaths and garland hang from rooftops as old-time cars drive down a snowy Third Street in historic downtown Red Wing.

It’s “Postcard from Red Wing,” the image featured on this year’s fundraising ornaments for the 12th annual Holiday Stroll.

Red Wing’s Vicki Riester, Kac Turvold and Ann Smereczniak started painting the ornaments back in October. The women said they plan to have 200 of them completed in time for the Holiday Stroll Nov. 29.

The ornaments will go on sale that afternoon at Bella Casa Interiors, 419 Main St.

“They’re pretty much gone by that evening,” Riester said, adding that the ornaments have grown to become a favorite gift idea for local residents.

The women, who have been painting the ornaments together since the mid-2000s, said they see many of the same people purchasing them as gifts for friends and family each year.

The first ornament from the batch already was auctioned off at Pay it Forward’s Party for a Cause fundraiser in October.

Each glass ornament is painted by hand with acrylic paints and individually numbered, Riester said. “It’s a lot of work.”

“There are a lot of steps,” Smereczniak added. The artists start by blocking out the basic outline of the design before going in with paintbrushes and toothpicks to add all of the fine details.

It takes about an hour to complete each ornament once they get used to painting the design, Turvold said.

Although they used to divvy up painting duties in an assembly line fashion, Riester said each ornament now is done by a single artist from start to finish.

The women said painting the same scene on 200 ornaments can become monotonous, but they have been working to perfect the process over the past six years to make it more manageable.

Most of all, they said it’s the local tradition — and the rewarding feeling of being able to contribute to it each year — that keeps them from getting discouraged.

“It’s a good thing to be a part of,” Riester said. “That’s what keeps us going.”

The ornaments cost $20 each and come in a gift box. All proceeds will go to help fund the Holiday Stroll for next year, Riester said.

For more information on the Holiday Stroll and for an event schedule, check out the Holiday Stroll insert in the Nov. 23 Republican Eagle print edition.

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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