Holiday events planned in area
Santa is making his rounds in southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa this weekend. Here’s a rundown of some of the holiday-themed events happening in the area:
Jackson’s annual weekend kicks off Friday as its Holiday Fest extravaganza gets under way.
Fun for kids starts Saturday, with crafts and story time at Santa’s workshop from 9 a.m. to noon at Riverside Elementary.
“Kids can come and make their own ornaments, as well as other arts and crafts and of course visit Santa in Santa-Land,” Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Director Sharon Henning said.
Santa will be taking visitors from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and newly featured in Santa-Land is a mailbox for kids to place letters to the North Pole. To receive a reply, letters should include a name and a return address.
Also for the kids, “Despicable Me 2” will play for free at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Historic State Theatre, and there will be free swimming at the Jackson County Central pool. Kids’ Christmas Bingo begins at 3:30 p.m. at the Jackson American Legion.
For some Christmas tunes, the JCC High School Swing choir will perform at noon Saturday by the clock tower. The fifth annual Opry Christmas Jackson Style will have shows at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the JCC Performing Arts Center.
The gingerbread house contest at the Jackson Library is back by popular demand. Voting by the public will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Horse-drawn wagon rides will make the rounds downtown from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Ending the day is a 5:30 p.m. light parade with 19 floats on display — the most it has had. Fireworks will follow.
“If anyone hasn’t seen fireworks in the winter, it really is something,” Henning said. “The colors are so vibrant, and everyone just absolutely loves it.”
On Sunday, Fort Belmont will host its second annual Old Fashioned Christmas.
“It went so well and was highly visited last year so I was really excited about bringing it back,” Henning said.
Activities begin at 1:30 p.m. with games for kids, and a variety of nativity sets will be on display. Ending Sunday’s events will be a Christmas worship service at 4 p.m. in the Delafield Church.
Lake Park, Iowa
Christmas in Lake Park, hosted by the Lake Park Historical Society, will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday inside the community center, 903 S. Market St.
There will be a community meal sponsored by the Lake Park Fire Department. A free-will donation will be taken that will go toward the department. In conjunction with the meal, a bake sale sponsored by the Lake Park Federated Women’s Club will have proceeds go to the Lake Park Library.
Santa will be available for free pictures at the community center, thanks to sponsorship by the Lake Park Kiwanis Club.
Along with the indoor festivities inside, the historical society is sponsoring a tour of homes featuring the residences of Terry and Deb Morrow and Clark and Roxy Reeker. There will also be a tour of the Freedom Rock Memorial; tickets are available for purchase at the community center.
“I always call it the spectacular Freedom Rock Memorial because it really is amazing to see,” said Jane Heikens, president of the Lake Park Historical Society.
The Sibley Chamber of Commerce is presenting its annual Traditions of Christmas celebration with the theme “A Handmade Christmas” on Saturday and Sunday.
Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday, the Team Trinity gift and bake sale will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church. Proceeds will go toward Osceola County Relay for Life.
There will be a breakfast with Santa from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Pizza Ranch. When kids are finished visiting with Saint Nick, a Christmas story will be read by Mrs. Claus at 10 a.m. at the Sibley Library.
Four homes are on display this year for the Sibley-Ocheydan Choir Boosters Tour of Homes. The tour offers a combination of new and old homes each uniquely decorated and displaying each family’s various traditions. The homes will be available to view from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Traditions displays will be available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Osceola County Courthouse. There will be musical entertainment at the site.
“The viewing of traditions is a way for businesses in the community to decorate a tree and have it on display for all to see,” said Sheryl Peters, executive director for Sibley’s Chamber.
For families looking for a rest stop in the middle of the events, a 2 p.m. showing of “Polar Express” will be at Max Theatres.
Tickets are also still available for the S-O Vocal Music Department’s Madrigal Dinner events at noon and 6 p.m. Saturday, during which holiday music will be performed by the S-O Show Choir and Chamber Chorale. Tickets are available from any choir member or at the high school office.