Tag Archives: holiday season

Enjoying the Holiday Lights in Siouxland, Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve, North Sioux City, SD

23 Dec

Holiday lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

For the last couple of years the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve has been putting up Christmas lights around the homestead that folk can visit each of the four weekends in December, with Christmas Day not included should it fall on the weekend. When the pandemic hit a couple years ago the Adams’ parks manager, Jody Moats, wanted a destination place for people to get outside and enjoy some festive sights as most churches and other organizations were being cautious in having large crowds in small rooms adding to the chance of viral infections. The popularity of the Christmas lights was overwhelming embraced by locals as they can walk through the homestead and meet Santa before his big day.

Santa poses for a photo with fans at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa greets visitors at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Holiday lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I find it challenging to photographer as the blue goes fairly fast and the homestead is in a small wooded area, so trying to balance an exposure and still so activity tests one’s skill as a photographer. Some photos I made handheld with the help of a study tree while others were done on a tripod. In situations like this I mostly find the people as props to the Christmas lights rather than the other way around. For the brave folk who brave the chill a little popcorn, candy cane or coffee and hot chocolate brace them until they walk about and for a short time just enjoy the Christmas season.

Jerry Mennnega

Sioux City, Iowa

Holiday lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Holiday lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Holiday lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Candy cane decorations light up the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Holiday lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Holiday lights at the Adams Homestead and Nature Preserve Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022 in North Sioux City, SD. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating Christmas displays history, Santa’s Castle, Storm Lake

15 Dec
Santa waits patiently for a young girl to stop crying and talk with him at Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Castle opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

People enter Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, as it opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

When it’s Christmas time in Siouxland, a favorite place to visit is Santa’s Castle in Storm Lake. It had been a few years since I was last there and always enjoy it because it’s the kind of place that celebrates the kids in all of us. There are so many various types of animatronics on display collected in the last few decades that are still functioning and brings smiles to all who pass through.

This year the Castle was reorganized and displays apparently were grouped by decades of when they first appeared and people come in the front door and then snake around the area until at last they meet the. Big Guy himself, and kids get to ask their favor of Santa.

Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A large contingent of parents and grandparents with children in tow meander through looking for answers to a handout fact sheet they receive when entering. The various displays are mesmerizing and one could stand more minutes at a time to watch the animation unfolding in front of them. Sadder still, maybe, in that some of these animations I recognized seeing as a child myself. Which I hope I still am in spirit if not in flesh.

A family tries to engage a young boy for a photographer as Santa also tries to coach the boy’s attention Santa at Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Castle opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa and a young boy try to coach the boy’s sister to talk with Santa at Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Castle opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Walking through Santa’s Castle is a bit of a sensory overload but in a nice way. In the building’s basement is a large scale model train setup that still captivates and holds everyone’s attention, possibly letting them relive those former childhood memories. Memories one may hope that more folk can enjoy in a positive way and find a continuing of the Christmas spirit through the next year.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Children and those young at heart watch a train display as Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop. Santa’s Castle opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle, originally Santa’s Workshop, opens its doors for visitors Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 and will run run through Dec. 26 where a collection of animatronic Christmas decorations collected over the years beginning in the 1960’s will be on display seen in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)
Santa’s Castle Board president Ron Hott, left, talks with electrician Ray Delp, right, about some glitches Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 as Santa’s Castle opens for the holiday season running through Dec. 26 in Storm Lake, Iowa. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Celebrating the Christmas Holiday in Siouxland, Sioux City

21 Dec
Folk inspect the decorated Christmas trees at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Like many communities, Sioux City has a number of festivities that celebrates the Christmas holiday and season. One of which is the Festival of Trees, with decorated trees that are then available through a private bidding auction which helps support one chosen charity or organization that particular year. Various organizations and people decorate their tree and they are available for viewing for a week or so until the bidding process ends and people who win can pick up their very own Christmas tree for the holiday.

Folk inspect the decorated Christmas trees at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Folk inspect the decorated Christmas trees at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

But during the first evening while the parade of lights is happening outside, folk who wander into the Ho Chunk Centre are also entertained. A local church bell choir, Grace United Methodist Church, perform a few numbers that is always amazing to hear. All the more I think because the bells always seem to be perfectly tuned. Making me wonder how exactly can bells be tuned.

The 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Grace United Methodist Church bellringers performing at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Grace United Methodist Church bellringers performing at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And then to top off the evening, a local dance group performs various numbers or routines to renditions of holiday Christmas songs. Mostly jazzy version that matches the energy of the young dancers. Cute as they are, the younger ones making the best of it while not always hitting the mark or executing their cue. But no one cares. It’s a fun performance for the beginning of the holiday season and gets people into the mood for the season with a reason.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Children set up to perform their dance at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parents record their children performing at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Parents record their children performing at the 28th Festival of Trees inside the Ho Chunk Centre in Sioux City, Iowa Monday, Nov. 22, 2021. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wishing a Merry Christmas to all in Siouxland.

24 Dec
Decorated with lights, the Christmas Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2015. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga ©)

An interesting year in Siouxland will come to a close in a few days. A new year will soon offer other opportunities and possibilities that may not yet be known. But anticipation and expectation can make dreams more palpable and exciting when they do come to fruition.

Like the opening of Christmas presents one has seen under a tree that have been there a few hours or days, creating a bit of excitement of what lays inside. And hopefully fulfilling a wish some has had.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas at the Durham Museum in Omaha NE Friday, Dec. 18, 2020. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas celebration in Siouxland, Le Mars Pioneer Christmas Village

27 Dec

The Pioneer Christmas Village at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa, celebrates the Christmas season every year with lighted store fronts, musical entertainment and rides in lighted wagons. There is a silent auction of decorated Christmas trees to raise money for local groups and a nice family friendly atmosphere. It’s just fun to attend and see the decorated items, too numerous Santa representations and families out having fun. Christmas is over for 2015, but the spirit and memories hopefully live on for those families attending to add their holiday delight.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

A place at the inn, Siouxland manger exhibit, Le Mars

5 Dec

The Plymouth County, Iowa, museum in Siouxland has a manger exhibit up and running this holiday season with between 100-150 various according to volunteer Julie Leaverton. Mangers of various artistry and country of origins celebrating the birth of Christ fill a room on the top floor of the museum’s space in the old Central School. Many hand crafted from wood and other material, a person could spend serious time looking at different representations of the same theme. The exhibit runs through early January and would be an interesting stop on the itinerary for holiday visits.

The museum itself covers a variety of topics and genres, filling the rooms of the former school with exhibits from the late 1800’s to the 20th Century including the history of the community like the Westmar College, the beginning of Blue Bunny ice cream, early band instruments, and one in particular, a harp, that was found in the tomb of King Tut and now resides in this Le Mars, Iowa center of history.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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