Guest Columnist

Shop small in Cedar Rapids this Saturday

Cyclists stop after crossing the 16th Avenue bridge into Czech Village in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)
Cyclists stop after crossing the 16th Avenue bridge into Czech Village in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Our Cedar Rapids historic south end neighborhoods of Czech Village and New Bohemia (which make up “The District”) are decked out for the holidays. We have over three dozen cute and unique, homegrown shops for gift buying and 35 restaurants and bars to duck into for the fuel to keep going through the holiday season. Our museums, city market and entertainment venues have fun traditional and not-so-traditional seasonal offerings as well. You won’t want to miss anything.

Oh yes, we know that many people like to get out and shop on Black Friday. But save some dollars and some shopping energy. Because, if you like to help local, homegrown businesses and like to purchase one-of-a-kind gifts in an authentic atmosphere, then you won’t want to miss Shop Small Saturday in Czech Village and New Bohemia on Saturday November 30. You can discover all the shops online or by picking up a holiday shopping guide at all participating shops.

To sweeten the experience, the first 200 patrons can pick up complimentary reusable bags with coupons, gift cards, and promotional items from more than 30 local businesses. These Shop Small American Express Bags also will include District Dollars which can be spent at any participating business.

You can pick up your special bag (while they last!) beginning at 10 a.m. on the NewBo City Market side of the Cherry Building next to the giant cherry.

And, if you enjoy yourself during Shop Small Saturday, Nov. 30 — shopping, strolling, eating, drinking and greeting friends and neighbors — come back for Deck the District festivities the weekend of December 6 to 8.

On Friday, Dec. 6, the Czech Village Association will hold its annual Svaty Mikulas (St. Nicholas) and tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. in the old Kosek Building, 83 16th Ave SW, in the Czech Village. Svaty Mikulas and the customary Devil and the Angel will be there along with complimentary cookies and cocoa for all. Czech Singers will be entertaining with Christmas songs.

At 7 p.m., there will be a presentation on Christmas traditions in the Czech and Slovak Republics followed by a 7:30 p.m. candle light walk to officially illuminate the village Christmas tree near the Kosek Bandstand. From noon to 8 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday there will be a Bohemian Betty Holiday Market with art, antiques, vintage, goodies and more. It will be held at 95 16th Ave in the Czech Village and admission is $2 or free with a Bohemian Betty T-shirt.

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Also on Friday, Dec. 6, there will be a Holiday Wreath Workshop from 6 to 8 p.m. in the NewBo City Market with new shopkeeper Fed Fox. Tickets are $20 and include all materials and a take home wreath. Sign up on the Fed Fox Facebook page. And, starting at 6 p.m. on Friday night NewBo City Market will host a free Holiday Music Bingo Night.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, all are welcome to stop in at the Cherry Building at 329 10th Ave in New Bohemia for a Very Cherry Christmas open house and studio tour with live music from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Also on Saturday, the NewBo City Market will host the McCauley Center’s Quilt Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as well as several other guest vendors.

And on Dec. 7 and 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. don’t miss the Old World Market at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. This market is inspired by a combination of traditional European markets and Midwest magic and includes local handcrafted items, delicious food and drink and entertainment.

On Dec. 8, Santa will be at the NewBo City Market from Noon to 4 p.m. All day Dec. 7 and Dec. 8, a free trolley will get shoppers and visitors around the District.

These fun and enchanting celebrations of community, culture, local shops, and holiday cheer are free and open to all.

Monica Vernon is executive director of the Czech Village New Bohemia District.

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