The spotlight may be on the 2013 Decorators’ Show House at Knox Farm State Park over its three-week run that kicked off this weekend, but little East Aurora is piggybacking off the big event, which is creating a ton of buzz in the community.
“This is a great opportunity. We’re talking about 40,000 people during this period,” said Gary Grote, executive director of the Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce.
Grote has talked up local shops and restaurants, many of which are extending their hours to adjust for additional business.
And many are going beyond that.
Yvonne Evilsizor, owner of Taste Bistro on Main Street, is going all out for the event. Planning far ahead, she purchased $3,000 worth of metal flowers that stand 2 to 3 feet tall, and has decorated the outside of her building to jazz it up with not only flowers, but oversized wooden umbrellas and window boxes to present a message of spring and a formal welcome to Show House visitors with a big sign.
Evilsizor carries the theme inside her bistro with two dozen 1940s through early ’60s vintage umbrellas – of all different colors – suspended from her ceiling. “I wanted to do something that was fun and timely and exciting,” she said. Her efforts are 100 percent linked to the Show House.
“This is our first chance as a community, in a very long time, to take a big jump forward,” Evilsizor said. “We’ve all suffered – from the Main Street road construction a few years ago – and are still rebounding from that. We always need growth, and to have a spurt of hope, to serve additional shoppers and hungry people, is important. We want to welcome people and encourage vibrancy of the retail component of the community.”
The Toy Loft shop on Main also is getting in the Show House spirit by offering a Lego contest. Those who bring in a Lego model related to the Show House by May 25 will have it displayed in the store windows. There are three different age categories, and all models must have something to do with the Show House – such as the Knox Estate, the Knox Farm, a house, a kitchen, a contractor’s truck, gardens, a decorator’s van – or anything else tied to the event. As Linda Coletti from Toy Loft says, “The possibilities are endless.”
The Aurora Historical Society is showcasing tours of historic sites in the community – such as the Millard Fillmore House museum, the Elbert Hubbard Museum and Tiffany windows at the Baker Memorial United Methodist Church. Those tours begin at 2 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday during the Show House’s three-week run, but are separate from the Show House. Advance reservations for the historic site tour are required and can be made by calling 652-4735 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $15.
“With thousands of people from around the region expected to visit East Aurora during the Show House at the Knox Mansion, we thought there would be no better time to open the doors to our historic sites,” said Robert Lowell Goller, director of the historical society.
Backstage tours of the Aurora Players’ Roycroft Pavilion are part of the tour on Saturdays, May 4 and 18 only.
The Roycroft Inn is joining in the craze, offering reduced room rates for people with a Show House ticket, while also highlighting a menu that draws, in part, from the Junior League of Buffalo’s “Great Lake Effects” cookbook. Campus tours of the National Historic Landmark will be offered at 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Live music will be offered at 7 p.m. Fridays at the inn, 40 S. Grove St.
Outside the village, Marilla Country Store owner Sandra Grunzweig is hoping to coax Show House visitors out to her shop. “I think it’s actually nice that the Show House is not in the city,” she said, noting that her shop is seven minutes outside of East Aurora. “I think it’s wonderful to get people to a different community and get out and see the country.”