MONONGAHELA – It’s estimated that at least 700 tickets were sold to an event in Monongahela Saturday designed to preserve its past and promote its present.
A downtown walking tour, “Stroll, Shop ‘n’ Sip,” had about 40 businesses in the Washington County community open their doors to shoppers who purchased tickets entitling them to some type of freebie as they visited each participating store. It was a benefit for the Monongahela Area Historical Society, which hopes to keep the doors of its museum on West Main Street open as they try to replenish dwindling reserves of cash.
By 1 p.m. or so, about three hours into “Stroll, Shop ‘n’ Sip,” historical society president Susan Bowers was ready to pronounce the whole shebang a success.
“People have been very gracious,” she said, sitting inside the historical society’s museum. “Because we want to keep this going.”
It costs about $1,000 a month to operate the museum, she explained. Bowers estimated “Stroll, Shop ‘n’ Sip” reeled in at least $3,500, not including donations. It will almost certainly be repeated next year, she said, and will join the historical society’s other big annual fundraiser, a candle-lit “ghostwalk” that happens before Halloween every October.
The museum’s holdings include a collection of political campaign buttons and such local ephemera as property deeds and scrapbooks. The historical society also hopes to take on an expanded role in Washington’s Whiskey Rebellion Festival, which takes place in July, and wants to open the doors of the museum to visitors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Businesses taking part in “Stroll, Shop ‘n’ Sip” included shops selling antiques and coffee, a pizza place, a few salons and more. Linda Dudzik, the co-owner of the Goody Two Shoes tea and collectibles shop said she barely found a minute to catch her breath since things got underway, as a steady stream of visitors came in for tea, scones and a chat with a psychic reader.
A onetime president of the historical society, Dudzik said, “I didn’t know what to expect. It’s been truly overwhelming.”