Local News

Shoppers brave weather for Sip & Stroll in downtown Sebring

SEBRING - Win some, lose some, and on Friday, one almost got rained out twice. "The rain definitely hurt us," said Linda Tucker, who was selling wine glasses at Linda's Books, 203 N. Ridgewood Drive, in downtown Sebring. Rain from Tropical Storm Chantal came 30 minutes before the Sip & Stroll officially started at 5 p.m., and by 5:30 p.m., business was brisk enough for a small line to form for the $10 wristbands. Each stroller could refill the goblet at 16 merchants on Circle Park Drive or North Ridgewood. Four restaurants also stayed open: McLane's Garden, the Blue Crab, Twin Oaks Tea Room and Mae Lee's International Deli.
"Business is picking up," Tucker said. Even after a few showers, the 62 who bought wine glasses continued to stroll. "That's a very respectable turnout," said Lora Todd, owner of Dogtown USA, 112 N. Ridgewood Drive. Strollers munched on her hors d'oeurves while they waited out the storm. However, after 6 p.m., another squall line from Chantal's weather bands blew through, banging with lightning and thunder. "I was busy here in the store, looking at the clouds all around us, and then the bottom just fell out again," said Todd. Although the second storm ended after an hour, the 5 to 8 p.m. event was almost over anyway. "Next month it's all about kids," Todd said. "It's a back-to-school bash. Last year, we had a great turnout for the kid's event." Diana Elders at the Happy Owl, an art and school supplies store at 227 N. Ridgewood, is sponsoring the event. "It's not all about the wine," Todd said. "This gets people used to coming downtown." gpinnell@highlandstoday.com (863) 386-5828