CLINTON — Desiree Rush wasn't shopping as she visited stores Thursday evening in downtown Clinton. She thought her first Wine and Beer Walk would be a good opportunity to "get out in the community."

Local retailers provided appetizers and drinks to shoppers as part of the Downtown Clinton Association's holiday event.

"We did it in the spring also," said Peggy Westphalen, office manager of Alberts Jewelry. "It was fun."

Heather Ray donned a Santa hat and a Christmas-light necklace to serve drinks at Alberts. Karen Rowan, in holiday finery, discussed items under the jewelry store's glass cases.

At Brown's Shoe Fit, Arica Arensdorf and Rebecca Collis tried the red wine.

"We've actually never done this," Arensdorf said. "We saw the event on Facebook."

The former co-workers don't see each other often, they said. Arensdorf lives in Clinton; Collis lives in Erie, Illinois. The Wine and Beer Walk was "a reason to meet each other," Collis said.

"It went really well," Westphalen said Friday morning. "We had a really decent turnout. I wouldn't say it was as busy as it was the last time we were involved in it," but she recognized that the shop is not in the main block of Fifth Avenue. She was pleased with the people who came to the store to look at the merchandise.

Many visitors to downtown were not Clinton residents.

"We had people from Morrison that came. People from out of town," Westphalen said.

"It was a very good turnout," said Boo Boegel, who, with her sister Bobbi, owns Boegel's Men's Wear on Second Street. "We had a lot of people in here. It was really fun. I think we got a lot of new people that saw the store."

The threat of freezing rain didn't dampen the spirits of shoppers.

"We were both surprised because of the weather," Boegel said. "We didn't expect that many.

"Everybody who came in here said how fun it was," Boegel said. "Everybody was cheerful."

A native of Centerville, Winona comes to the Clinton Herald after writing for the Ottumwa Courier for two years.