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Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Akron

16 Dec

No matter the place, large or small, or the person, adult or child, Christmas is just a joyous occasion in Siouxland. And Akron has started its own tradition hosting a third annual Chamber visit by Santa Claus who kicked off the event with a tree lighting and had children anticipating telling him what they wanted this year to find under their own Christmas tree.

Santa and Mrs. Claus light up the Christmas tree during their visit during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Parents take snap shots of their children with Santa and Mrs. Claus while others peek as they wait their turn during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Smaller communities invest their time in celebrating holidays for its residents. Santa arrived in style in a fire truck. The library hosted a Santa and Mrs. Claus greet and meet with the children and downtown businesses opened their doors and served treats and hot chocolate. The downtown area was dressed to the nines.

Downtown Akron decorated in a festive holiday mood for the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Lights and decorations make downtown Akron a festive place during the third annual Akron Area Chamber of Commerce’s Hometown Christmas in Akron, Iowa Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Even if only for a couple of hours, cares and worries are replaced with celebration and anticipation. One joyful fulfillment so far for me is that I can attend these events without driving through any snow, yet. But it’s coming. Maybe Christmas Eve, or possibly sooner, but a Siouxland Christmas doesn’t generally go by without some cold and snow.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Plymouth County Museum

12 Dec

During the Christmas holiday, it is hard to escape the celebration. In the Midwest, Iowa and Siouxland people celebrate Christmas. Lights are up most places and Christmas music fills the air. Every year at the Plymouth County Museum it hosts a Nativity set display and a number of community members lend their displays for others to view. It is pretty amazing how many different examples of nativity sets there are.

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

These nativity scenes are made out of a variety of material and hail from a plethora of locations all honoring the birth of Jesus. The craftmanship used to create some of these scenes are pretty amazing.

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The display takes up the most of the top floor of the museum, formerly a local high school. So it is a large space. I always find museums are fun places to visit. One can learn about the past, the present and people’s state of mind by viewing exhibits. And it’s a nice place to divert one’s attention on a blustery day reveling in the moment of a momentous holiday to some.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Singing Christmas Carols in Siouxland, Nora SD

8 Dec

Around Thanksgiving I attended a Christmas carol sing-a-long in a small community in South Dakota in Siouxland. In Nora, SD music enthusiast and Christmas lover Mike Pederson invites people to come to a former general store and share in the spirit of Christmas.

Mike performs on a pipe organ in the store which he has been doing for 28 years, and is accompanied by a violinist and the voices of people who travel near and far to join in song and celebration of Christmas. The last sing-a-longs will be occurring soon¬†and a real treat, it’s worth a drive.

Mike Pederson plays a pipe organ that sits in the store during the Christmas sing-a-long at Nora, SD Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The Nora General Store in Nora, SD, sits along a state highway and is listed on the National Register of Historic, which occurred in 2007. A Christmas sing-a-long has taken place for 28 years at the Nora store, Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

It is fun to meet people and sing with them, even if your voice sounds better in your head than in real life, like my own. Christmas is a season for rejoicing and sharing and the comradery with happy faces and voices is amazing. Mike would love to have you stop by and join in the fun. However, get there very early, otherwise you might find yourself listening in through the open front doors on a pleasant day, and through the doors on a day with temps in the teens and snow on the ground.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

With the seating and standing room full inside the store, others stand around the front door for the Christmas sing-a-long to sing carols at Nora, SD Sunday Nov. 26, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Holiday Celebrations, Christmas too, in Siouxland, Adams Homestead

4 Dec

As the Christmas celebrations get geared up for surrounding communities and organizations it’s always fun to visit and see what if anything has changed from year to year. And it’s a nice break from the relentless political news that fortunately deserves to be covered but a break from is always good too.

The Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve is always fun to attend as its outbuildings are open to explore and their are carolers and activities for kids and adults to enjoy.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I personally like Christmas. The holiday and its sentimental depiction. When I lived in northern California and got the chance I would go into San Francisco to enjoy the ostentatious window displays that the large stores would put up. These days I enjoy a simpler look at Christmas decorations.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And of course no Christmas celebration is complete for kids without a visit with a jolly old elf and a chance to drop a line asking for those soon to be opened gifts.

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And it’s a time for friends to get together and family to celebrate and create memories.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Photo Safari class at Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Festival of Trees in Siouxland, Cherokee

2 Dec

Sometimes revisiting places in Siouxland leads one to pleasant little surprises. One such visit to Cherokee recently I dropped by the Sanford Museum and Planetarium and came upon its Festival of Trees.

A house from across the street is reflected in the windows of the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Small Christmas trees decorated by a variety of groups from the area each giving their own tree a special spin and unique look.

Each of the Festival of Trees entries have unique aspects about them during the exhibit at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Sometimes those decorating exercise their sense of humor as well.

Playing on words for one Festival of Trees entry at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

So it’s fun to visit different communities this time of year to see what is going on, even though the theme of Christmas is the same. Pleasant surprises await the person willing to make the time to visit.

The museum and planetarium provides the community and surrounding area residents a place when there are art shows and history programs. A small display with the history and information about the museums’s benefactor plus a room with some items from a founding community family gives visitors a little background. Just another reason to do a bit of local travel to explore areas in Siouxland.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

A decorated tree in the “Sanford” room at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

History about the Sanford family at the Sanford Museum and Planetarium in Cherokee, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Lighted Parade in Siouxland, Sioux City

28 Nov

Every year most communities have their own Lighted Parade to kick off the Christmas holiday season. Some start a little earlier than others, but work to help its residents to enjoy the coming days that are festive and mostly filled with good cheer. And people attending the parade as well as parade goers get into the holiday spirit themselves.

A woman wears her “antler ears” for he Christmas season kick off at the Lighted Parade in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Children spread the Christmas cheer as the season kicks off with the Lighted Parade in Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

And these communities also have areas with decorated Christmas trees done so by various organizations or individuals and then auctioned off to raise money for a local nonprofit.

People view the decorated Christmas trees inside the Ho Chunk Building on view before the Lighted Parade in Sioux City, Iowa Monday Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

People view the decorated Christmas trees inside the Ho Chunk Building on view before the Lighted Parade in Sioux City, Iowa Monday Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The events just brighten and heighten the anticipation of Dec. 25 when for some Santa arrives bearing gifts for the “good” kids and others for the celebration of the birth of Christ and his message of redemption and the possibility of Peace on Earth, even if only for a few hours.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Christmas Season begins in Siouxland, Le Mars

22 Nov

Recently I participated in an artists’ open house in Siouxland, at the Le Mars Art Center. A number of artisans displayed their wares that included paintings, jewelry, pottery, pen and ink and even a gentleman who creates pen barrels for both ball point and fountain pens. I had a few prints hanging.

The Le Mars Art Center is decked out for the Christmas holiday during an open house for artists at the Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Photos of the author hanging on the wall during an open house for artists at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

An open house for artists to kick off the Christmas holiday season at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I stayed for about an hour and then needed to leave to meet a class for an outdoor photographic session for my Photo Safari class through Western Iowa Tech’s Lifelong Learning program. Which was fun in and of itself because a local nature preserve held its Christmas holiday celebration. So the seasonal fun begins as various organizations and places hold lighted parades, open houses and a joyful celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ. And yes, all before we have celebrated Thanksgiving. And sometimes it seems these start earlier in the season but then as more are added to local calendars time is needed to allow people to attend. And they are always fun.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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