Tag Archives: holiday

Seeing the Sparkle in Siouxland, Old Market, Omaha, NE

29 Dec

Christmas lights can be seen shining in the distance in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I always enjoy seeing Christmas lights shining at night during the winter holiday season finding it makes life a little bit cheerier on those too early dark nights. Even with freezing or below freezing temperatures I force myself out to take a look.

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

In the Old Market in Omaha, NE the streets are lined with lights on trees, store fronts and even carriages that will take customers meandering through the brick streets and with eyes closed harken back to an earlier era.

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

With the recent above normal temperatures it was much more enjoyable to get out and stroll, enjoy the lights and dinner without sloshing through slush or snow while doing so. The lights and festive feel in the air will most likely be short-lived, which is sad, because the feeling of joy should last throughout the year giving people hope and faith that the world is a much better place than what so many people try to prove otherwise.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Christmas lights in Old Market in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Enjoying Christmas’ Past in Siouxland, Old Dominion Dance, Omaha, NE

25 Dec

It’s always fun to encounter something new and this Christmas season I came upon a group that celebrates Christmas through bringing to life Charles Dickens’ novel, “A Christmas Carol”. The Old Dominion Dance group enjoys the holidays be reliving the past. The group’s founder, Emily Mayes, said the group;s Fezziwig Ball held at Lauritzen Gardens is a chance for people who enjoy dance and a family night out to come participate and dance and participate in a Dickens’ Christmas party.

Young participants socialize before dancing during Old Dominion Dance group’s Fezziwig Ball that encompasses English style country dance at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Emily Mayes, center, began the Old Dominion Dance group that embraces English country style dancing done during Fezziwig Ball at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The dance group focuses mainly on English country dances and takes some time to teach the simple dance steps (it’s very much like attending an American square dance get-together) and then participate. The group later performs short skits based on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. The ball itself is based on Ebenezer Scrooge’s visit from the Ghost of Christmas’ past. It was fun watching people socialize and participate in an event that celebrates kindness, friendship and the spirit of Christmas. Something one might think is in short supply these days.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

People pose for a portrait during Old Dominion Dance group’s Fezziwig Ball that encompasses English style country dance at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants dance during Old Dominion Dance group’s Fezziwig Ball that encompasses English style country dance at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants dance during Old Dominion Dance group’s Fezziwig Ball that encompasses English style country dance at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants dance during Old Dominion Dance group’s Fezziwig Ball that encompasses English style country dance at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants dance during Old Dominion Dance group’s Fezziwig Ball that encompasses English style country dance at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants dance during Old Dominion Dance group’s Fezziwig Ball that encompasses English style country dance at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Participants dance during Old Dominion Dance group’s Fezziwig Ball that encompasses English style country dance at the Lauritzen Gardens in Omaha, NE Friday, Dec. 20, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Sharing the Holiday Spirit in Song in Siouxland, Nora, SD

17 Dec

 

I always find it fun when venturing out in Siouxland to revisit places I have been too. Visited often enough, places become very familiar. Sometimes though a place feels at home as soon as you walk through the door. The Nora, SD country store is located at a crossroads in rural South Dakota and owned by Mike Pederson. Listed on the National Register of Historic places, the store was a true country store, closing in 1962. Some items from its previous life are still sitting on shelves.

Resident cats of Mike Pederson check out visitors’ vehicles while everyone is inside the Nora, SD store for 30th annual Christmas carol sing-a-long Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. Pederson began the sing-a-longs in 1989 when he moved and set up the pipe organ in his store. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is one of a few remaining country stores, which closed in 1962. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A pet cat looks for some attention outside the Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019 with remnants of a blizzard still remaining on the ground. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pederson has been hosting holiday sing-a-longs at the store since 1989, 30 years. He acquired an organ in the early days, learned to play it and began inviting folk to stop by during the weeks leading up to Christmas Day and to share in Christmas music, both secular and religious to just help folk get into the spirit.

MIKE PEDERSON sits at his organ where he plays Christmas music beginning just after the Thanksgiving holiday up through December 15 at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019. Marking his 30th year of his annual Nora Store Christmas Carol sing-a-long beginning in 1989 when he set up a pipe organ. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

MIKE PEDERSON, fifth from the left, sits at his German-made organ where he plays Christmas music at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Christmas decorations hang inside the Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 1, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

From hosting so many years he tells some pretty interesting stories of people who have visited. Some by chance and others making a pilgrimage to come back, by themselves or bringing family and friends to enjoy a couple hours of singing and leaving cares at the front door and sharing space and time with strangers who are not really that strange. All enjoy singing, some of us more off key than others, but people don’t seem to care and with so many voices it’s hard to tell anyway.

MIKE PEDERSON puts out more cookies for visitors to his Nora, SD, store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019. Pederson is marking his 30th year for an annual Nora Store Christmas Carol sing-a-long beginning in 1989 when he set up a pipe organ. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

MIKE PEDERSON plays Christmas carols on his German-made organ at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pederson told folk attending this year that he has been diagnosed with cancer, but so far, has been blessed with good health as he attends to treatment and the medication that goes along with that treatment. His main concern was in asking for some help in keep the store in repair as it needs some work and because of its historical significance to rural America and the fact that these stores are disappearing. Others in the area have been torn down or destroyed by fire. A slice of Americana that can’t be replicated. And I think he also wants to keep alive that spirit of togetherness, sharing with neighbors,  known and unknown, and taking time out to celebrate a time of year that many find special and a place to enjoy it in, bringing back memories for some and creating memories for others too young to have experience that past.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

MIKE PEDERSON, third from left, tells a story of visiting Norwegians who stopped by a couple years ago to sit Christmas carols at his Nora, SD store seen Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

MIKE PEDERSON, third from left, sits at his organ where he plays Christmas music at his Nora, SD, Christmas store Sunday Dec. 8, 2019 and is joined by visitors sharing in the love of singing Christmas carols, marking 30 years for his annual Nora Store the sing-a-long which began in 1989. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Wistful Christmas Memories in Siouxland, Durham Museum, Omaha

6 Mar

Celebrating Christmas in a big way at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Although spring will officially start soon here in Siouxland, winter still has its grip on the region with air temperatures hovering just above zero and for a few days below zero without any windchill. Which makes me a little wistful for the Christmas holiday season because it was relatively “warm”, all things considered at the moment. It’s hard when cabin fever sets in and one wants to get out and photograph, but that darn cold air somewhat takes the fun out of it.

When visiting the Durham Museum this past December there was a magnificent Christmas tree on display. And looking at a photograph doesn’t quite give it justice, unless of course there are people seen in the photo.

Perspective sometimes gives one pause, like seeing a giant Christmas Tree at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I enjoy the re-enacted scenes in bronze that grace various areas around the what was the grand hall or waiting room at the former Union Station in Omaha, NE. And enjoy it even more when serendipity allows one to capture life imitating art imitating life. Sometimes it’s just good to be lucky.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Feeling at home with a display at the Durham Museum, formerly a Union Station, in Omaha, NE Monday, Dec. 10, 2018. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Christmas Celebration in Siouxland, Sioux City

27 Nov

Christmas celebrations in Siouxland have begun. Small communities and bigger ones are heralding in the Christmas holiday with lighted parades and other seasonal celebrations. As someone mentioned to me recently, to get their celebrations done before the snow flies. Sioux City held its Lighted Parade recently. It was interesting in that, one moment I had gone inside a building to look at decorated Christmas trees that are part of the yearly celebration along with being a fundraiser, and when I came out, the street was populated with people who were not there minutes earlier. Children of course scrambled for tossed candy, a staple of any parade and the parade snaked along an outlying street near downtown. The weather was warmish and pleasant, and the little bit of rain that fell waited until Santa made his appearance and the tree lit before “dampening” everyone’s enthusiasm.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Lighted Christmas Parade in Siouxland, Le Mars

9 Dec

It’s always fun to attend the Le Mars, Iowa,  Sertoma Lighted Christmas parade each year when possible. For one thing, more than one Santa generally shows to participate, and the children never seem to mind or catch on. And there are generally a variety of entries. Afterwards, most people make their way to the Plymouth County Fairgrounds to attend the Pioneer Village Christmas event where they are decorated trees along with treats and hot drinks and cutouts for people to put their faces in to be photographed as well as horse drawn wagon rides. This year it was a balmy 32 degrees with no snow on the ground. So it was warm enough to enjoy without thinking you had lost your toes and fingers. People bundled up and enjoyed the festivities, with children pointing the figure in red and chasing down errant candy tossed from the passing parade.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Siouxland Celebrates the 4th of July, Orange City

8 Jul

Orange City, Iowa, celebrated the Fourth of July with a family fun time in Windmill Park, Wednesday afternoon, with contests for children and a cookout for everyone along with a parade. The folk duo Bella Ruse also performed with  fun, touching and irreverent music. Photographs of the event are here.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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