Jolly Trolley Christmas is today

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Rhonda Fitchett, with Axa Advisors, stops by the atrium at the Trolley Center which has been decorated for the season. Axa and Bloomers on Central have put together a Jolly Trolley Christmas event from 5 to 8 p.m. today, complete with music, wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres.

Reminding Fort Dodge that the season is for all ages, today’s Jolly Trolley Christmas will offer a night of wine tasting, snacks and holiday shopping downtown.

The staff at AXA Advisors and Bloomers on Central coffee shop, both located in the Trolley Center, came up with the idea to give people a chance to celebrate together.

“It was kind of spur of the moment,” said Rhonda Fitchett, of AXA Advisors. “My business partner Roger McCullough, and Bloomers, who is Kristin and Doug Utley, and Joanne Peterson, we’re the committee that got this all going.”

Four wineries will be featured throughout the spacious shopping center, Fitchett said. Vendors will be located throughout the upstairs.

From 5 to 6 p.m., Iowa Central Community College singers will provide Christmas harmonies, with Bill Sergeant and Andrea Minikis performing after that, Fitchett said.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Rhonda Fitchett talks about decorating the Trolley Center in downtown Fort Dodge. More decorations will be added before tonight’s Jolly Trolley Christmas event, a chance to celebrate the season with friends, and raise money for Almost Home and the Lord’s Cupboard.

Cost will be $10 for a commemorative cup, with proceeds going to the Almost Home animal shelter and Lord’s Cupboard food pantry.

“We’re not really charging admission, this is a commemorative cup for the wine tasting,” Fitchett said.

There’s also hot chocolate for anyone who doesn’t want wine.

Many of the vendors will be from Fort Dodge Central Avenue businesses.

“It’s a good time for meeting your neighbors up and down Central Avenue, shop a little, munch a little. We’ll have some hors d’oeuvres,” she said.

Meat and cheese trays have been provided by donors including CJ Bio America, KHI, and Mike’s Pest Control, Fitchett added.

The event came about through a discussion over coffee at Bloomers, Kristin Utley said.

“They’ve had kids stuff downtown,” she said. “The library was more kids and family, but there’s nothing for an adult-type party. Then we thought it would be fun to get some vendors down here, some local businesses that people don’t know a lot about, let them showcase what they have.”

The event got a big help from Kris Patrick at Main Street Fort Dodge, Fitchett said.

Utley and Fitchett hoped decorating the Trolley Center will evoke events that were held there in years past.

“Years ago, the YW used to have their Silver Showcase here. It was always so pretty,” Fitchett said. “It’s a great venue.”

It’s a great place to have an office, too, she said. Fitchett has worked there for 11 years, and she thinks AXA has been in the building for 20 years before that.

“We like it here,” Utley said.

-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter

Rhonda Fitchett talks about decorating the Trolley Center in downtown Fort Dodge. More decorations will be added before tonight’s Jolly Trolley Christmas event, a chance to celebrate the season with friends, and raise money for Almost Home and the Lord’s Cupboard.

A Jolly Trolley Christmas

Today 5 to 8 p.m.

Trolley Center, 900 Central Ave.

$10 commemorative cup for wine tasting.

Four wineries, shopping, vendors, live music

and hors d’oeuvres

Proceeds go to the Lord’s Cupboard and Almost Home

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