Style, humor on display in windows
Contest finalists vie in seven communities to be named city’s best.
The mermaids look like they are having the best holiday time. Sitting in the ocean oasis that has been created in El Interior’s window, the mermaids have their tails in the air, tropical drinks held high and Santa hats on their heads.
The window is the brainchild of the folk art store’s Amy Morrow. It’s one of seven store windows competing in the finals of the Austin Independent Business Alliance’s Holiday Window Shopping Contest.
One finalist was chosen from the winners of each of the seven shopping districts that competed. The ultimate winner will be crowned next week.
El Interior won for the West Lynn business district. Morrow took about a week to make everything, including the papier-mache mermaids. Even though she knows that mermaids in a Christmas window is a bit unconventional, “It seems like everybody’s gotten a kick out of it,” Morrow says.
Why mermaids for Christmas? “I always try to do a window that reflects the store,” Morrow says. There’s a lot of folk art from Mexico and Guatemala that have images of mermaids in them.
On Burnet Road, a moving Ferris wheel is surrounded by Santa Clauses and framed by nutcrackers and giant wrapped candies in the window of clothing store Sue A fairy tale wonderland is happening in the windows of Second Street. Patrick. It’s the winner for the lower Burnet Road area. Owner Sue Patrick says Santa always plays a part in her window’s holiday displays, but the Ferris wheel gives it a whimsical look. “It looks like something out of the 1950s.”
Last year, Sue Patrick won the first Holiday Window Shopping Contest. The store’s visual merchandise manager Dennis Nauert spent 80 hours working on this year’s window. A friend of the store’s from New York helped figure out how to make the PVC pipe Ferris wheel move.
“It’s a fun thing,” says Sue Patrick’s Jay Willems. “We get tons of response from customers. They like to vote and see you win.”
Conan’s Pizza on 29th Street
Top: Elly Fleegal, of Fleegal Farms, makes soap and cures the bars on baker’s racks in her backyard studio. Above: Fleegal uses a spatula to gently mix the colors, creating a marbled effect on the soap.
A moving Ferris wheel is the centerpiece of the window at Sue Patrick clothing store, which won last year.