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Pioneer Village's holiday event is next week

Roy Reimer (left), Pioneer Village caretaker, and Jacoba Nagel, Nobles County Historical Society board member, pose in front of the sod house with some of the many swags available for purchase during the annual Old-Fashioned Christmas at Pioneer Village. The event is from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

WORTHINGTON -- Musical entertainers, young dancers, village strollers and local vendors are coming together to offer two fun-filled evenings of Old-Fashioned Christmas at Pioneer Village Thursday and Friday.

Gates open for the 24th annual event at 5 p.m. each day, with activities to interest both young and the young at heart. Children ages 15 and younger have free admission, thanks to the Worthington Optimists Club, and they are all welcome to visit with Santa Claus in the Fire Hall.

"The kids, when they come in here and see Santa, it's total excitement," said Jacoba Nagel, a Nobles County Historical Society board member who helps coordinate the event.

Santa will provide goodie bags to each child, thanks to the historical society and local merchants who donated treats.

Horse-drawn wagon rides will be offered throughout the village grounds, food and hot cider will be available and dozens of handmade swags of greenery will be among the items offered for sale in the village's country store.

The Old-Fashioned Christmas highlights the unique setting of Pioneer Village with its multitude of old buildings and boardwalks. The village is located behind the Nobles County Fairgrounds off of Stower Drive.

On Thursday night, the students from Kay Prunty's Dance Academy will perform in the big barn from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with a variety of musical entertainment ongoing in each of the two churches and the saloon. Friday's special feature includes the play, "Christmas Present," written by Westbrook's Daryl Hrdlicka.

A complete schedule for the two evenings follows:


Small church:

5:30 to 6 p.m.: Church of the Brethren Choir

6 to 6:30 p.m.: Linda Lang, piano and vocals

6:30 to 7 p.m.: Dean Christopherson and family

7 to 8 p.m.: St. John's Lutheran Choir

8 to 8:30 p.m.: Debra Moe, piano and vocals

Large church:

5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Lois Gruis, hand bells and solo piano

6:30 to 7 p.m.: Prairie Celebration

7 to 7:30 p.m.: Festival Singers

7:30 to 8 p.m.: Jean Johnson, vocals

8 to 8:30 p.m.: Jolene Kuhl, piano


5:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Audrey Brake, accordion


5:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Kay Prunty Dance Academy


Small church:

5:30 to 6 p.m.: Jackie Johnson, piano

6 to 6:30 p.m.: Karsten Piper, Christmas reading

6:30 to 7 p.m.: Minnesota West Choir

7 to 8 p.m.: St. John's Lutheran Choir

8 to 8:30 p.m.: Chris Kielblock, vocals

Large church:

5:30 to 6 p.m.: St. Mary's Folk Choir

6 to 6:30 p.m.: Worthington Brass

6:30 to 7 p.m.: In Harmony

7 to 7:30 p.m.: Janine & Maynard Townswick

7:30 to 8 p.m.: Theresa Widboom

8 to 8:30 p.m.: Worthington Christian Church Band


5:30 to 8:30 p.m.: Cindy Harvey, vocals


5 to 6 p.m.: Bruce Dysthe, vocals

6 to 6:30 p.m.: Temple Baptist Church

6:30 to 7 p.m.: Karen group

7 to 7:30 p.m.: Play, "Christmas Present"

7:30 to 8 p.m.: Ebbers family, vocals

8 to 8:30 p.m.: Play, "Christmas Present"

The Westminster Presbyterian Church youth group will offer for sale barbecue sandwiches and bars throughout the evening Thursday and Friday in the saloon, with popcorn, cider, coffee and bake sale items offered in the Fire Hall.

The Country Store will be open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. each night, with the Nobles County Historical Society conducting its annual bake sale. In addition, Worthington prints will be offered for sale, Louis Stowe will have his woodcarvings and Boernsen's Bees will have products on hand as well. Sheri Vander Brink will also offer handmade baby items from Cribs, Bath & Beyond.

Gate receipts and the sale of evergreen swags and baked goods is a major source of the funds taken in by Pioneer Village to cover ongoing maintenance costs of the historic site. Memberships to the village will also be available for purchase each night.

New to the Old-Fashioned Christmas this year is a pair of costumed village strollers. Roxann and Alfred Polzine will wander the grounds and act as village guides for guests.

Reading Bus Lines will again offer a Tour of Lights through the streets of Worthington as part of the Pioneer Village festivities. People may board the bus just outside the Village gate for the tour, which begins at 6:45 p.m. each night.

"Come out and enjoy an old-fashioned Christmas at Pioneer Village," encouraged Nagel. "We'll try to get you in the Christmas spirit."

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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