Tag Archives: santa claus

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Le Mars

22 Dec

A number of communities in the Siouxland area are celebrating the Christmas season and Le Mars, Iowa is again hosting a Lighted Parade as well as a Christmas Village where parade attendees and others can go for hot drinks and cookie treats, listen to live music, ride in light decorated wagons and spend a nice evening.

This year’s celebration was warmer than other years but it was also drizzling a bit which put some chill in the air. But people turned out for the parade downtown and the wet pavement made for some nice photos and added to ambiance. When shooting various events at night, I am all for whatever ambient light is available and the wet pavement was an added bonus, even if the air temp was colder.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Santa’s Castle in Siouxland, Storm Lake

20 Dec

On a visit to Storm Lake, Iowa recently I finally was able to visit a place I had seen numerous times, but always during the wrong season. Santa’s Castle in Siouxland is every child’s dream.

Santa is waiting to talk with children and pose for photographs.  While waiting for your chance to talk with the Jolly Old Elf, there is a maze of animated toys and Christmas decorations which can overload the senses. One could easily spend a couple of hours watching the various toys come to life and still bring a smile to even the most curmudgeon old soul. And during the walk through the maze of lifelike toys children participate in a scavenger type hunt looking for various objects hidden among all the toys.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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

Christmas holiday in Siouxland, Sioux City

24 Nov

The Christmas holiday is beginning in the Siouxland area. Various places are having a celebration before the Jolly Old Elf visits, some even before Thanksgiving. I like the Christmas season. It’s full of joy and wonderful smells (think food) and sites (think decorations) and even, snow. Yes, the white stuff. With warm enough temps and lots of it, it is hard to resist being outside.

I guess what I really enjoy about Christmas, besides the Biblical exaltation and many church programs, is its quaintness. At least what I perceive. The U.S. travel writer/tour guide Rick Steves produced a few years back a video showing various Christmas celebrations in various European cities and countries. The visits were very quaint and I believe the essence of Christmas celebrations.

The City of Sioux City held its lighted Christmas parade recently. And a fairly nice size crowd turned out to see it. Lighted parades can be good or mediocre. If the parade float is well lit and easy to see, it’s a delight and people enjoy it.  But if there are only a few strings of light tossed about an entry it leaves a bit to a person’s imagination. Also, the city did not have some street lamps turned on lighting the street like it usually does. and without the streets lights, yes, it made it easier to see some of the floats that were lit, but for others, it was difficult. It just seemed odd.

For shooting photos, I was pushing my ISO to 3200 and shooting slow shutter speeds and a bit wide open. Sometimes using a little faster shutter speed, and not using flash. I talked with a couple who brought their children and asked them about the parade, and they seemed disappointed. They felt the parade was a little sad and it seemed to take forever. Maybe with too few floats, no one wanted the parade to end too soon and for Santa’s visit to be drawn out.

I have attended other local lighted Christmas parades, such as Le Mars, Iowa, and it seems full of life and alive. Curious how the same holiday can some times be interpreted in different ways.

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

Santa in Siouxland, Rural Nebraska

20 Dec

During the “winter months” which could be from November to April, depending on the temperature,  I find it nice to get out of the house and into the country for a drive especially when the temperature is north of 15 degrees. To me temperature is important if you plan to photograph something and don’t want to lose your fingers or nose from the cold. And some days with wind gusts up to 20 miles and hour on the “prairie”, it’s just bone chilling.

I took a drive into Nebraska, checking out a small town for a possible story idea I want to pursue. On the drive I detoured down a gravel road and found a fun site, Santa in a barn. Maybe he was just scouting for a place to take a power nap during his busy night next week, but it’s not always in the city where one can find fun decorations.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Rural Nebraska

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