Courier features editor
With Thanksgiving behind us, Christmas and winter celebrations are hitting their stride. Here’s a look at some events you can visit to get a jump-start on the celebrations.
1. Head over the Central Park Friday for the ceremonial lighting of the city’s Christmas tree. Prior to that, more than 100 memory trees will be individually lit as the names of the trees’ honorees are read aloud. Santa is also scheduled to make a visit. The event gets under way at 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact Fred Zesiger of Main Street Ottumwa at 641-226-1353 or email@example.com.
2. It’s a day of Christmas celebrations at Bridge View Center Saturday.
Santa will make another Ottumwa appearance Saturday morning at Bridge View Center. Bridge View Center will be hosting Breakfast with Santa from 7:30-10:30 a.m. Kids will be able to decorate cookies and write letters to Santa at a writing station. A hot chocolate station will be set up with mini marshmallows, candy canes and chocolate chips alongside hot apple cider, orange juice and coffee. The breakfast menu includes made-to-order omelets, fresh-baked cinnamon rolls and muffins, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, sausage links, Belgian waffles, hash browns, fresh-baked biscuits and homemade sausage gravy. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for kids 12 and under. A discount is given to adults who RSVP in advance. For more information, visit www.bridgeviewcenter.com.
Later in the day, BVC will be hosting Jim McDonough and His Orchestra and Singers for Holiday Grande 2019. The Christmas spectacular, benefitting Camp Courageous of Iowa, features McDonough on the concert grand piano, a 14-piece orchestra, a cast of singers and dancers, and elaborate sets and costumes adding to the spirit of the season. The tour delivers a message of Christmas in a production fit for all ages. All seating is reserved. Tickets are are available by calling 800-745-3000, online at TicketMaster.com, or to avoid delivery fees, purchase in person at the Bridge View Center Ticket Office. For information, visit www.PianoFavorites.com.
3. Think local as you shop for holiday gifts this weekend with Small Business Saturday. A special “snowball drop” is set for 10 a.m. in the 100 block of South Market Street. “Snowballs” sponsored by participating businesses will each be marked with a prize and dropped from a firetruck. Grab as many as you want, but only one prize can be used per person per business. For more information, contact Fred Zesiger of Main Street Ottumwa at 641-226-1353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Race into the spirit of the season with the Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce and Ottumwa Fire Department’s Jingle Jog/Walk from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Saturday. The course begins in the Herberger’s parking lot and winds throughout the Holiday Nights ’N Lights display in Central Park. Participants are asked to support the OFD’s Sparky Claus program by bringing an unwrapped gift for a boy or girl. For more information, contact the chamber at 641-682-3465.
5. To round out Thanksgiving weekend, The American Gothic Performing Arts Festival is hosting its annual Turkey Trivia contest at 7 p.m. Saturday at Hotel Ottumwa with proceeds benefitting the organization’s summer festival. Teams of four to 10 people will compete in eight rounds of general knowledge trivia with each round having 10 questions. Trivia categories include world sports, movies and Beatlemania. Prizes will be awarded to the top-scoring teams, and they may also enter 50/50 cash games during select rounds. Contestants can enter individually or register as a team, and tickets include complimentary beer, wine, pizza and snacks. Registration runs from 6:30-7 p.m. with trivia following at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.americangothicfest.org or call 641-777-9636.