5 Things

Christmas is definitely in the air this weekend as a slew of activities have been planned to celebrate the season.

1. Take in a holiday show with the Indian Hills theater department or Ottumwa Community Children’s Playhouse. Or take the both in.

IHCC continues its run of “Coney Island Christmas” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in St. John Auditorium. The story focuses on a Jewish family that has immigrated from Europe discovering what the holiday season is like in America. It’s a play for all ages and faiths and is filled with nostalgia. The play is free to attend, but ticket reservations are recommended. For more information, contact Dr. Jennifer Boyenga, director, at 641-683-5144 or jennifer.boyenga@indianhills.edu.

For a musical take on a Christmas classic, head over to Bridge View Center for OCCP’s “Bah, Humbug!” This retelling of “A Christmas Carol.” This show closes out the organizations 15th season in which they have reproduced favorites from the past. Show times are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday, and tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students. For more information, contact Becky Ingle at 641-226-1523.

2. Walk through a variety of homes decked out for the holidays this weekend. The annual Around Town Downtown Holiday Home Tour runs 5-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Homes on the tour include 609 E. Alta Vista Ave., 19 Birchwood Drive, 409 W. Finley Ave., and loft spaces in the 300 block of East Main Street. A reception will follow the tour both days at Hotel Ottumwa. Friday’s reception begins at 8 p.m. with Saturday’s at noon. Complimentary wine and snacks will be served, and door prizes will be awarded. For more information, contact Fred Zesiger of Main Street Ottumwa at 641-682-3465 or director@mainstreetottumwa.com.

3. Eldon is the site of a variety of holiday events this weekend, including Christmas Tree Wanderland at the McHaffey Opera House and gingerbread house building at the American Gothic House.

The annual Wanderland event runs from Friday through Sunday at the McHaffey Opera House as a thank you to the community for supporting the house. More than 100 decorated trees and holiday vignettes, created by opera house members, churches, organizations and individuals, will be on display. Seating will be available, and complimentary snacks, beverages and live Christmas music will be provided. There will also be a gift booth and bake sale. A screening of “Polar Express” will be shown at 1 p.m. Sunday in the opera houses auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Those wanting something a little sweeter can head over to the American Gothic House from 1-4 p.m. Saturday to construct and decorate a gingerbread house. Graham crackers, frosting and candy will be provided for children to construct their own house. The event is free and open to children of all ages. For more information, contact the American Gothic House and Center at 641652-3352 or email theamericangothichouse@gmail.com.

4. Step back in time Saturday at Albia’s Victorian Stroll. During the event, the entire town puts on a 19th-century veneer. Residents and business owners don period-authentic clothes, sing Victorian-era carols, take horse-drawn carriage rides and set up elaborate Victorian vignettes in the windows around the square. Activities centered around the square begin at 10 a.m. and continue all day with the main stroll event running 6-8 p.m.

5. The 32nd annual Symphony Christmas Ball has a theme of a Magical Christmas Saturday night at Bridge View Center. Social hour, with live music and appetizers, begins at 6 p.m. Dinner begins at 7:30 p.m. with dancing following. The dance are of the Ottumwa Symphony Orchestra, No Strings Attached, will provide the music with guest vocalist Brooke Lunsford. Tickets are $70 per person, and reservations can be made by calling Kim Ardueser at 641-777-7788.

— Features Editor Tracy Goldizen can be reached via email at tgoldizen@ottumwacourier.com or followed on Twitter @CourierTracy.


Tracy Goldizen is the Courier's features and magazine editor, leading production of the award-winning "Ottumwa Life" and the Courier's other magazine offerings. She began work with the Courier on the copy desk.

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