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Jackson readies for Holiday Fest

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JACKSON -- The chill is in the air and the snow is in the sky, just in time for Jackson's 12th annual Holiday Fest this weekend, with fireworks and a parade scheduled for Saturday.

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"The fireworks are so much better when it's cold and crisp in the night air," said Marilyn Reese, executive director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce. "They're just so much better than in the summertime."

The fireworks will begin at 6:30 p.m., and will be launched near the Jackson City Hall area. Bundled up spectators or people who prefer to watch the show from the interiors of their cozy cars may find parking on Jackson's Second Street (also known as Main Street), First Street, Sherman Street and River Street.

After the fireworks, some downtown businesses will feature special entertainment. Bridget's Brew Ha Ha and Grill will have the Roxbury Band for no cover charge and Pillars on Main will feature comedian Denis Donohue beginning at 9 p.m., with tickets at the door.

The Holiday Fest parade will begin at 5:30 p.m., and will feature about 15 to 20 units, including a special mystery parade entry from the Jackson Lions Club.

New to the festival this year is the Opry Christmas Jackson Style, a holiday music show performed at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Jackson County Central Performing Arts Center, on the west end of the JCC High School. Music from the show will range in style from Patsy Cline to Carrie Underwood.

"It's going to be a variety (show with) a little bit of country flair," Reese said. "There'll be local talent."

The show's emcees will be Terry Wheeler of Lakefield and Rhonda Wedeking of Spencer, Iowa. Tickets will be available at the door only if they are not sold out, so anyone interested in the show should call (507) 847-3891.

The events begin with Santa's Workshop from 9 a.m. to noon in the multi-purpose room at Riverside Elementary. Kids age 3 through 12 can make special gifts for their parents or other special adult, with the help of Jackson County 4-H leaders and at no cost.

The Jackson County Library is sponsoring story time in the music room at Riverside Elementary from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Kids can swim for free from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Jackson Indoor Pool.

Children can visit with Santa himself from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Santa Land in Festival Park, at the north end of Second Street. Kids will have another opportunity to take a photo with Santa and create a Christmas frame at a workshop between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.

At 11 a.m. the JCC carolers will perform by the clock tower in downtown Jackson. The JCC brass ensemble will play beginning at 4:30 p.m. by the clock tower.

The Historic State Theatre will offer a free movie matinee of "Hotel for Dogs" at 1 p.m. Saturday and again at 1 p.m. Sunday, both showings sponsored by the Jackson Kiwanis.

Kids' Christmas Bingo will be from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at American Legion Hall, with participants being encouraged to bring an item for the local food shelf.

Many local businesses will serve free soup and breadsticks beginning at 3 p.m. in the downtown Jackson area.

Just before the parade, at 5:20 p.m., there will be a drawing for two children's' sleds.

"It's a great day for kids and families," Reese said. "At the end of the day, the highlight will be the light parade and the fireworks. It's just a fantastic time for family and a great way to start the holiday season."

Other events in Jackson this week include the Pioneerland Gun Show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Jackson National Guard Armory, and the Jackson Christmas Tea at noon or 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Jackson Golf Club.

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