116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The holiday commercials have been playing for weeks, and now it’s time to unwrap a sleighful of events to put you in the seasonal spirit. Here’s a look at just some of the events running through December, ranging from tree lighting ceremonies and old-fashioned fun to bright light displays and Santa visits.
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Mount Pleasant Festival of Lights: 5:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 23 to Dec. 31, Old Threshers Campground, 405 E. Threshers Rd., Mount Pleasant. Southeast Iowa's largest drive-thru holiday light park, with more than 100 holiday lighted displays filling a 1.6 mile route; Santa visits on select nights. Admission: $10 family vehicle to $60 motor coach, at the gate or oldthreshers.org/festival-of-lights/admission/
Holiday Lights at the Lake: Nov. 24 to Dec. 31, West Overlook Campground at Coralville Lake. This walk-through or drive-through holiday light show benefits The Bird House, Hospice Home of Johnson County. New this year is “Memory Lane,” an area of uplit trees, where community members donated in memory of their loved one who has died. The milelong route includes dazzling archways, whimsical woodland scenes, a sporty and adventurous “campground” Santa, and a giant parody of Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.” Visitors can walk through on Wednesdays or drive through on all other days. Hours: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 5 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission: $5 Wednesdays; all other days $10 for cars, vans and SUVs, up to $50 for buses or large limos; cash at the gate or through Eventbrite. Event details: holidaylightsatthelake.com
Reflections in the Park: 5 to 10 p.m. Nov. 24 to Jan. 1, Louis Murphy Park, 1700 S. Grandview Ave., Dubuque; $12 per vehicle at the gate. Fundraiser for Hillcrest Family Services. Details: facebook.com/profile.php?id=100069152975690
A Brucemore Christmas: Thursdays to Sundays, Nov. 25 to Dec. 31, Brucemore, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids. Various times; $10 adults, $5 ages 1 to 18. Self-guided holiday experience through the 1880s Queen Anne-style mansion. Details: brucemore.org/event/a-brucemore-christmas-a-self-guided-tour/
Tannenbaum Forest: Nov. 25 to Dec. 18, Festhalle Barn, 4707 220th Trl., Amana. Various hours Friday to Sunday; amanacolonies.com/things-to-do/festivals/tannenbaum-forest/ With more than 60 decorated trees, 17-foot German Christmas pyramid, St. Nick’s Cafe, Amana Pickle Hunt, Santa and a reindeer 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 11. Admission: free, but donations benefit University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital
Holiday Bazaar: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 26, The History Center, 800 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Various small-business vendors on-site; free admission. Details: historycenter.org/bazaar
Anamosa Festival of Lights: 6 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 26. Festival of Lights parade, see Santa, shop local, activities at the Lawrence Center, sing carols on a horse-drawn wagon ride, https://m.facebook.com/pg/AnamosaChamber/events/ Also: Reindeer Run on Nov. 26, 8 a.m. registration, 9 a.m. youth mile fun, 9:15 a.m. 5K run/walk, anamosachamber.org/chamber-news/announcing-the-2022-reindeer-run/
Blue Creek Christmas: Nov. 27 to Jan. 8, 4942 Blue Creek Ct., Walker. More than 100,000 lights synchronized to more than 25 minutes of music. Hours: 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 27, then 5:30 to 10 p.m. Sunday to Thursday, 5:30 to 11 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Dec. 25. Admission: Free; donations accepted for Center Point Regional Ambulance Service. Details: facebook.com/bluecreekchristmas
Santa at the Market: 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 27, Dec. 4, 11 and 18, NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids
Santa, Snacks and Stories: 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 28 and 29, Brucemore, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids; $5 adults, $10 infant through age 12. Visit with Santa (adults invited to take photos); also a holiday snack, craft and story time. Details: brucemore.org/event/santa-snacks-and-stories/
Lights & Blooms Tropical Holiday Open House: 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 1, Noelridge Greenhouse, 4900 Council St. NE, Cedar Rapids; free admission, canned food donations accepted for HACAP. Enjoy hot cider, punch, cookies and popcorn while basking in the warmth and beauty of the permanent tropical display. Hosts: Cedar Rapids Parks Department and Friends of Noelridge.
Holiday Nights: A Brucemore Christmas Experience: Dec. 1 to 22, Brucemore, 2160 Linden Dr. SE, Cedar Rapids; $15 adults, $10 ages 1 to 18. Hours: 5 to 7 p.m. Thursdays, Sundays and some Wednesdays. Take a self-guided tour of the mansion’s four floors by the glow of holiday lights, featuring more than a dozen Christmas trees, thousands of twinkling lights, and holiday carols and hymns played on Brucemore’s rare 1920s Skinner Player Pipe Organ. Details: brucemore.org/event/holiday-nights-an-extended-self-guided-tour/
Magical Night: 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 1, uptown Mount Vernon. At 5 p.m., Santa will throw the switch unveiling Mount Vernon’s holiday lights, with singalong. Also, soup supper, luminarias, entertainment, exhibits, craft bazaar, live Nativity and more. Details: visitmvl.com/event/magical-night-2022/
Prelude to Christmas: Dec. 2 to 4, Amana. A weekend with special events and food/beverage sampling in the shops, carolers on the street, and the town decked out in Christmas finery. Also: Amana Church Christmas Cookie Walk and Holiday Bazaar and the Tannenbaum Forest. Details: amanacolonies.com/things-to-do/festivals/prelude-to-christmas/
Eastside Artists: Annual sale and exhibition, Dec. 2 to 4, Masonic Building, 312 E. College St., Iowa City. Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 2, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 3 and 4; masks required. Opportunity to shop for locally produced art from 16 artists working in a variety of media and price ranges — from collage, painting and photography to jewelry, cards, textiles, baskets, woodworking, puppets and dolls. Details: eastsideartists.com/
Marion Christmas in the Park: 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 2, City Square Park, 1001 Seventh Ave. Includes Santa and Mrs. Claus arriving at 4 p.m. lighting the new community Peace Tree at 6 p.m.; carols singalong, popcorn and cocoa, and more. Donations of new hats, mittens, blankets and socks accepted for the Keep Your Neighbors Warm campaign; drop off at the caboose that night or at the Marion Chamber of Commerce office, 1070 Seventh Ave., Nov. 28 through Dec. 9. Businesses will be decorated and open for the Peppermint Walk holiday shopping event. Details: marioncc.org/christmas2022
Festival of Trees: Dec. 2 to 31; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Hoover Presidential Foundation, 127 W. Main St., West Branch; free admission. View Christmas trees decorated with a Winter Wonderland theme, along with other holiday decor. hooverpresidentialfoundation.org/event/festival-of-trees-exhibit/
Cedar Rapids Tree Lighting: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Greene Square, Fifth St. SE. Family activities, 4 p.m., downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library and Greene Square.
Robins Tree Lighting: 4:45 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3, Robins Clock Tower. Features Christmas caroling, 4:45 p.m. at Robins Square Clock Tower; Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus arrive at 5 p.m. to help with tree lighting, then follow them to the Hoppe Safety Center, 225 S. Second St., for cookies and apple juice. robinscivicclub.com/christmas-tree-lighting.html
A Christmas Past: Dec. 2 and 3, Main Street, West Branch. Horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides, photos with Santa, train display, festival of trees, silent auction, treats around the fire and more. Community tree lighting, 5 p.m. Dec. 2, Village Green. Details: mainstreetwestbranch.org/christmaspast
Deck the District: Dec. 2 to 4, Czech Village SW and New Bohemia SE, Cedar Rapids; tourismcedarrapids.com/events-calendar/deck-the-district-2022/
- Dec. 2: District Holiday Open House, 4 to 6 p.m., 208 12th Ave. SE, Suite G; Svaty Mikulas Celebration and Tree Lighting, 5 to 7 p.m., Hospoda, 62 16th Ave. SW, with tree lighting 6:30 p.m. in front of the Kosek Bandstand in Czech Village; “My Kind of Christmas” holiday concert by Czech Singer Martina Barta, 7 p.m., National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW
- Dec. 3: Very Cherry Holiday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Cherry Building, 329 10th Ave. SE, with live music, free activities on the first floor Cherry Center Space, exhibitions by local artists, photo ops with Santa Claus; Old World Christmas Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW
- Dec. 4: Old World Christmas Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW; Santa at the Market, 1 to 4 p.m., NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE; Irish Christmas in America, 7 p.m. CSPS Hall, 1103 Third St. SE, music and dance by traditional artists from Ireland, $30 advance, $35 door, cspshall.org/events.
Jingle Bright Holiday Lights: 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 to 31, Delaware County Fairgrounds, 200 E. Acers St., Manchester. Drive-through light show, with more than 100 holiday displays; new walk-through area featuring Santa and the Grinch. Admission: free, but donations accepted. Details: delawarecofair.com/
Cedar Rapids Nativity Celebration: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Dec. 2; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 3, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 4150 Bluejay Dr., Cedar Rapids; free. See hundreds of Nativity sets, including the Armstrong-Smulekoff Nativity; also children’s activities and live music; bring a canned food item for Catherine McAuley Center. Details: crnativity.info/
Photos with Santa: 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 3, PCI Pediatrics, 275 10th St. SE, Cedar Rapids; free and open to the public. Kids of all ages are invited to PCI Medical Pavilion 2 for cookies and crafts; bring your phone to take photos with Santa.
Nature’s Noel: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 3, Amazing Space at Indian Creek Nature Center, 5300 Otis Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids. Fresh-cut evergreens fashioned into wreaths, centerpieces, kissing balls, swags and yule logs, all available for purchase. Presented by the Friends of the Nature Center and staff; all proceeds benefit educational programs and land conservation and restoration at Indian Creek Nature Center. Details: indiancreeknaturecenter.org/gallery/natures-noel/
Santa at the Farm: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3, Bass Farms, 840 Bass Lane, Mount Vernon. Tell Santa your wish list, and bring a camera to take a photograph; shop the country store for food and gifts. facebook.com/BassFarmsCSA/
Holiday Thieves Market: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 3 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4, Hyatt Regency Hotel Expo Hall, 300 E. Ninth St., Coralville. This fine-art show and sale features ceramics, fiber, drawing, glass, jewelry, metal, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture and wood items. Details: summerofthearts.org/sota-events/holiday-thieves-market/
Scuba Santa: 11 a.m. to noon Dec. 3 and 4, National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium, 350 E. Third St., Dubuque. Santa is back, taking a dive in the Main Channel Aquarium in the Mississippi River Discovery Center. Admission: various package prices, $15.95 to $26.90, rivermuseum.com/buy-tickets. More holiday events: rivermuseum.com/events
Hiawatha Tree Lighting Ceremony: 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7, Village Center Plaza, 101 Emmons St., Hiawatha; free. Holiday Market in the Community Center, 5 to 8 p.m.; pictures with Santa in the Plaza, 5:30 to 6:15 p.m.; tree lighting ceremony, 6:30 p.m. hiawatha-iowa.com/news/holiday-tree-lighting/
Ho Ho Ho in NewBo: 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 8, NewBo District, southeast Cedar Rapids. More than 16 retail businesses, plus NewBo City Market and local restaurants will be open to spread local holiday cheer. Activities include an appearance by Santa Claus, the Iowa Running Co. annual Christmas Carol Run, and a gift-wrapping station inside CSPS Hall. Many businesses will offer drinks and seasonal snacks, and Chrome Horse, Parlor City, and NewBo City Market Beer & Wine will offer drink specials. In addition, the neighborhood is sponsoring a white-out game based loosely on a bingo coverall, with the winners receiving prizes. facebook.com/events/503196435201104/
Festival of Hope: 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 9, House of Hope, 1744 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Annual Christmas open house, with cocoa, baked goods, toffee and vendors. Free admission.
Ely Winterfest: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 10. Activities for all ages, from cocoa bar and s’mores station to horse-drawn carriage rides, crafts and the Grinch. facebook.com/ElyWinterfest/
Cookies with Santa: 9:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 10, Ushers Ferry Historic Village, 5925 Seminole Valley Trl. NE, Cedar Rapids; $1 under age 2, $8 ages 2 and up. See Santa, decorate cookies, shop from local businesses, professional photos with Santa ($35). Details: facebook.com/events/437209851858695
Winter Wonderland: 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 10, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 1340 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids. Family event with Christmas-themed activities, cookie decorating, story time, ornament making, STEM activities, face painting and more.
Swisher’s A Very Merry Christmas: 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 10. Includes lighted Christmas parade at 6 p.m. on Second Street; horse-drawn wagon rides, cookie decoration, kids crafts, Holiday Tree Walk, 4 to 6 p.m.; visits with Santa, 6:30 p.m.
Granger House Self-Guided Evening Tours: 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 7, 8, 14, 21, Granger House Victorian Museum, 970 10th St., Marion; $5 ages 10 and up. grangerhouse.org/events
Granger House Self-Guided Weekend Tours: 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 10, 17, 18, 24, 31, Granger House Victorian Museum, 970 10th St., Marion; $5 ages 10 and up. grangerhouse.org/events
Granger House Santa Visit and Food Pantry Drive: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 11, Granger House Victorian Museum, 970 10th St., Marion. See Santa and hear live music. Admission: For ages 10 and up is a non-perishable food item, toiletry item, paper product, laundry detergent or pantry staple (such as flour and sugar) for the Churches of Marion Food Pantry. grangerhouse.org/events
Holiday Open Houses: Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 11, Iowa River Landing, Interstate 80 Exit 242, Coralville. Lights, horse-drawn carriage rides, Santa visits and photos, retail shopping. iowariverlanding.com/event/holiday-open-houses-2022/
Coralville’s Aisle of Lights: Dec. 11. See lighted luminarias 5 to 9 p.m. at residences and businesses. Details and related activities: coralville.org/316/Aisle-of-Lights
Troy Peters: Holiday Magic & Mentalism: 6 p.m. Dec. 15, Tin Roost restaurant, 840 W. Penn St., North Liberty; free. Peters will be table-hopping and meeting guests from 6 to 6:30, p.m., followed by his comedic mind-reading show from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., packed with lively interactive games; appropriate for ages 10 and up.
The Living Story: Drive-thru Nativity: 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 15 to 17, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 8300 C Ave., Marion. With multiple stations, narration tracks and live animals. Enter the parking lot from East Robins Road; stay in your vehicle the entire time and use low beams; bring mobile device to hear the narrations at stmarkscr.org/livingstory. Admission: Free, donations accepted for Churches of Marion Food Pantry and FLY (Feeding Lunches to Youth).
Solstice Celebration with Lantern Puppets: Dec. 16 to 18, Owl Glass Puppetry Center, 319 N. Calhoun St., West Liberty. Free workshops 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 16; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 17 and 18; reservations required at (319) 627-2487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so Owl Glass can have enough supplies on hand. Brant Bollman of Uplifting Puppets in Oskaloosa will lead a weekend workshop creating lanterns and puppets lit from within. Bollman specializes in creating and performing with giant parade puppets. He learned the craft of creating lantern puppets from internationally known puppet artist Andrew Kim. The workshops are free and open to the public; participants can attend any or all three days to make their own creation or help with the group project, constructing a giant sun and other celestial bodies (moon, stars, planets). At 5 p.m. Dec. 21, participants will light their lantern puppets and stroll them through the streets of West Liberty to celebrate the Solstice. The short parade will end at Ron-De-Voo Park or Owl Glass Puppetry Center, depending on the weather, where the community is invited for cocoa, treats and music.
Breakfast with Santa: Dec. 17, Hyatt Regency Coralville Hotel & Conference Center, 300 E. Ninth St., Coralville. Two seatings 8:30 to 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Holiday breakfast buffet, photo-op with Santa and Mrs. Claus, holiday crafts and activities, and make-and-take gift to take home. Free holiday-themed drink ages 21 and over, and cash bar. Tickets: presale through Thanksgiving: $29 adults, $15 ages 4 to 12, free ages 3 and under; starting Nov. 25: $34 adults, $19 ages 4 to 12, free ages 3 and under; eventbrite.com/e/breakfast-with-santa-tickets-445471997737
Celebrate the Holidays at Cedar Memorial: 4 to 8 p.m. Dec. 18, Chapel of Memories Mausoleum, 4200 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids. The Chapel will be filled with festive trees, wreaths, ornaments and thousands of lights. Also, hear live Christmas music and see Santa. cedarmemorial.com/news/
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