Events to kick off holiday season in area
Come Thursday, it will begin to look a lot like Christmas in Tonganoxie.
The city's downtown holiday celebration will begin with a Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce Open House from 4:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. at Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse.
Chamber of Commerce executive director Cheryl Hanback said the open house would be held in lieu of the chamber's November meeting.
At 6:15 p.m., the Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony starts. Mayor Mike Vestal will ask residents to help turn on the lights on the tree, which is east of Bitler's restaurant on Fourth Street. Lights on trees that line Fourth Street also will be turned on at that time.
The Tonganoxie High School jazz combo will perform and Tonganoxie Elementary School fourth-graders will sing carols during the lighting. Vestal will speak at the lighting, as will chamber president Kathy Graveman.
Hanback said the mayor would encourage residents to sing with him downtown so that Santa Claus, who plans to make an appearance, will know where to find them.
"They've got to let Santa know we're there," Hanback said. "He's going to arrive in a surprise way."
Santa also will be at Ratcliff Drug Store downtown. Lana Howe of Vintage Soap and Bath will have crafts available for youths to make items for their parents. Ice cream and cookies will be served and children may also chat with Santa while they're there. That will last until 8 p.m., as will open houses of downtown businesses.
The Mirror will be one of those businesses. Event-goers may stop in for refreshments and chat with staff members. A drawing will be held for a one-year subscription to The Mirror during the open house also.
Coinciding with the downtown festivities will be the library's Festival of (Mini) Trees fundraiser. People may stop by the library at Third and Bury Streets to view the various decorated trees. A silent auction begins today and will end Friday, Dec. 7, at the library.
"I'm thrilled that the city has really come together ... everyone's pitched in to do their part," Hanback said. "A lot of people are saying they're going to be there."
From 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12, Santa's Workshop again will be staged at Ratliff Drug Store. Children can make crafts during that time, with refreshments available and Santa on hand to hear about children's wish lists. Some downtown stores also plan to be open late that night, Hanback said.
For more information, contact the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce at (913) 845-9244.
Of course, there are plenty of other holiday activities planned in the area.
Here are a few of them:
Santa coming to Linwood
Friends of the Linwood Community Library invite area families on Saturday to visit the Linwood Community Center, 105 Third St., for an appearance by Santa Claus.
Youths may visit Santa Claus from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parents are welcome to bring their own cameras to take photos of their children with Santa.
The library will offer a holiday craft make-and-take program, including snowman ornaments, reindeer puppets and cookie decorating.
There will be a drawing for four filled Christmas stockings for the children, donated by the Friends of the Library, and two adult door prizes.
The Friends also will be selling 2008 calendars featuring pictures of historic Linwood. The 18-month calendars actually start with this July and will sell for $7.
Registration is not required and the program is free.
Nutcracker in Tonganoxie
Ballet dancers ages 2 to 72 will perform "The Nutcracker Suite" at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Tonganoxie Performing Arts Center in Tonganoxie High School.
Graves Talent Company is presenting the ballet. Director Brenda Graves of Tonganoxie said some 25 people, ranging from ages youth to adult, will perform.
Preparation for the event started in August, Graves said.
She said she just finished work on the final two tutus for her performers. In all, she said it required about six to eight weeks to complete the costumes.
"They are very difficult," Graves said. "That's why they're so expensive."
The performance is free to the public.
A fourth for Oskaloosa
Oskaloosa will stage its fourth annual Hometown Christmas from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.
From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be a tour of Oskaloosa Chamber of Commerce businesses. Treats, prizes and sales will be featured at the businesses.
Another all-day activity will be a craft and vendor show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Oskaloosa school.
Holiday music will be played throughout the day as well, and a pork burger food booth will begin serving at 10 a.m. at the Community Center at the northwest corner of the square.
Santa Claus will visit Oskaloosa from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the office of Brad Hammel, CPA, at Liberty and Washington streets.
And at 5:30 p.m., a tree lighting ceremony is scheduled, refreshments served and prizes given at the southwest corner of the Jefferson County Courthouse lawn.
Also throughout the day, Old Jefferson Town will be the site of an old-fashioned Christmas.
Finally, people attending the festivities in Oskaloosa should ask everyone whether that person is the Secret Santa. Whoever finds the Secret Santa will win a prize.