Christmas in Kalona draws big crowds

Posted 12/12/19

People came out in droves for Saturday’s Christmas in Kalona celebration.

Organizers said that pleasant weather played a big part in making this year’s festival a …

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Christmas in Kalona draws big crowds

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People came out in droves for Saturday’s Christmas in Kalona celebration.

Organizers said that pleasant weather played a big part in making this year’s festival a success.

“The weather was perfect, so people could get out and walk around,” said Christmas in Kalona Chair Jody Larimer, manager of the Kalona CBI Bank & Trust branch. “There were a lot of people there. It was a beautiful day.”

This year’s activities were largely based at the Kalona Community Center.

Vendors were set up around the gym and along the walking track above the gym.

Santa Claus arrived by fire truck promptly at noon to greet the long line of families waiting to visit with him.

Children also had the chance to decorate cookies and make a holiday ornament.

“I think it worked out well having everything centralized at the Community Center,” Larimer said. “I think the way we had it organized, having strategic locations where people were forced to walk around. They were intrigued by what was at the next station.”

There were fire pits to make s’mores set up around downtown as well, with visitors walking all over downtown.

“It naturally led them to walk into different stores,” Larimer said. “We heard a lot of comments from people who attended, and we heard a lot of comments from merchants that they had a lot of business.

“It was heartwarming to see all the little kids with their sticks over the fire with marshmallows. Overall, it was a huge success.”

Last year’s celebration fell on a cold rainy day, forcing the early closing of the outdoor skating rink and cancellation of the carriage rides.

On Saturday, while there was no skating rink, people lined up outside Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth for the evening carriage rides.

“We plan on having the skating rink again,” Larimer said. “We have it booked for next year. It would’ve been perfect this year.”

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