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Christmas cookies highlight Sibley holiday fest

Sibley's Director of the Chamber of Commerce, Carissa Janssen, donned the hat of Mrs. Claus as she iced the cookies for children to decorate Saturday afternoon during the Cookies with Mrs. Claus event in Sibley.1 / 2
Rebecca Kramer, 7 of Sibley, Iowa, licks the excess frosting from her fingers while decorating cookies at the Cookies with Mrs. Claus event Saturday afternoon at the American Legion building in Sibley.2 / 2

SIBLEY, Iowa -- There are many things that bring joy to a child during the Christmas season, from thoughts of flying reindeer to the smell of a pine tree gracing the corner of a room. But the taste of a Christmas cookie is guaranteed to bring a smile to a little face.

Saturday afternoon in Sibley, there were smiles aplenty as Mrs. Claus, also known as Sibley Chamber of Commerce Director Carissa Janssen, helped children decorate cookies shaped as Santa, a Christmas tree, a bell or an angel.

"I made an angel with a smiley face, a Santa and a tree," said 7-year-old Ruby Rockman of rural Sibley.

The cookies tasted great, she said, but admitted she had saved one of them for her dad.

The cookies were supplied by the local bakery, as were tubes of frosting. With plenty of sprinkles to choose from, the confectionary delights were colorful and mouth-watering.

The cookie decorating was just one of the many events offered during the Traditions of Christmas 2008 festival in Sibley. The first weekend of the festival was a great success, Janssen said, with more than 200 children participating in the breakfast with Santa and a free movie. There were also more than 200 people at the festival of trees.

This past weekend, 20 children entered the Penguin Waddle, and there were at least 25 entries for the Frosty Feet Fleet.

The Otter Valley Railroad Display had a wonderful turnout for both weekends, Janssen said.

"I had never been there before, but I went earlier today with Mr. Claus," she explained. "We rode down on the fire truck."

The kids in Sibley know that when they hear the fire truck, Santa is on his way, she added.

Also on Saturday were the chili cook-off and the fudge bake-off, viewing of traditional displays at the Zylstra building, bingo at the American Legion and the city wide Light Up Sibley contest.

Sunday's events included horse drawn carriage rides and a Christmas concert.