Jan Webber - Guest Blogger: Conner Prairie Alliance President
My name is Jan Webber and for the last year I have been president of the Conner Prairie Alliance
, a women's volunteer organization that raises money to support the programs and projects of Conner Prairie Interactive History Park. Our most recent project, the Apple Store
at Conner Prairie, was open from September 1st through October 31st this year and was a success from the very beginning!
Starting on our very first day, the Alliance welcomed members and friends of the history park. Every day brought new visitors, including school children on field trips, mothers bringing their children in for after-school treats, families attending Country Fair
and later the Renaissance Faire, and all sorts of groups enjoying the grounds of Conner Prairie. The excitement built right through Headless Horseman
when we stayed open until after 10 pm nightly to provide hot cider and caramel apples to our visitors.
In nine short weeks, sales at the Apple Store included:
19,374 hand dipped caramel apples
6,600 apple cider slushies
9,880 apple spice donuts
Our food and gift items were especially popular this year. To the greatest extent possible, we sourced our products locally, cutting down on the carbon footprint of the store and bringing our customers the freshest, highest quality products possible.
On December 9th, it was my great pleasure to present the profits from our store to Ellen Rosenthal, President and CEO of Conner Prairie. We all worked very hard to make this the store's largest annual contribution ever -- $90,000!
Thank you to all of our loyal customers who made this wonderful contribution possible! Those of you who came in weekly for your 'caramel apple fix'; those of you who wait in anticipation all year for your very first cider slushie of the season; and, those of you who bring in your friends and family who are visiting from out of town -- you are truly the reason for our success!
The Apple Store will be back next September -- can't wait to see all of you then!
Aili McGill - Assistant General Manager for Guest Experience
There’s a different quality to the night here. The sky seems somehow bigger, darker – drawing in ever closer, all around you. The roads here are all washed with the warm, golden glow of candles. Gone is the garish glare of Christmas decorations, no harsh blue aura of compact fluorescents and computer screens. The night becomes something you can feel – the icy, inky black sky oozes all around you, nipping at your nose and cheeks, slithering into your shoes and wrapping your toes in winter. You can’t help but snuggle deeper into your comfy coat or scarf and stuff your hands further into your pockets. Each breath you take fills your lungs, your heart, your head with this permeating presence of early winter, and it somehow simultaneously soothes you, while filling you with a sense of child-like giddiness. You first notice that winter itself has a scent – a sharp, minty freshness – and then you notice the charming smell of wood smoke and beeswax candles, the mustiness of farm animals and feed, and maybe a hint of gunpowder and even gingerbread or roasted meat wafting through town. You breathe deeper, enjoying the novelty of it all.
And, for the most part, all is quiet – more still than you’re used to, as a matter of fact – like a hush has fallen over the dirt path you’re following. There’s no whoosh of cars passing close by. There’s no hum of electronic equipment or muffled mumbling of TVs enclosed behind big picture windows. No dogs barking.
You start to notice the crunch of your own shoes on the gravel and icy residue on the path beneath you, followed by the rustle of the clothes you and your companions are wearing, and their breath – they’re all panting slightly as their bodies reacclimatize to the cold. You notice their breath escaping in puffs from their slightly parted lips, quickly spreading, rising, intertwining, and swooping up into the night sky, as if each of you are already dissipating and mixing, bit by bit, into this unique experience.
Suddenly, the calm of night is torn asunder by the sharp crack of a pistol shot, followed immediately by raucous laughter and cheers. “Hu-zzaaaaaahhh!” cry several voices, accompanied by the clatter of what sound like tins pails banging together. You begin to realize that there’s much more to be discovered in this quaint little town, but before you can make out the shapes of the Rowdies through the dark silhouettes of trees, you realize that your group has made it to the front porch of the Golden Eagle Inn. You hear their shoes clunking on the wooden floor of the porch, and you hear a soft rattle as some timid soul knocks on the door. The door swings open and warm, golden firelight spills across you. A friendly, cheerful voice bids you enter, and slowly you and your companions immerse yourself in the tantalizing, magical world of Christmas Eve in 1836