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'Tis the season: Holiday festivities fill the social calendar

RAND MIDDLETON | TRIBUNE St. Nick arrives at Kennedy Cardinal Place and Jefferson Learning Center in Willmar to deliver gifts and treats to preschoolers. With little snow remaining after morning rain showers, he left his sleigh at the North Pole and rode in a Ford van. The Jolly One's annual visit is sponsored by the Willmar VFW, which provides two helpers. See the video at wctrib.com.

The holiday season brings many special festivities. From family gatherings to school concerts and church programs, there are many events in which people may choose to participate. Listed are several concerts, festivals and other public activities set for the coming weeks.

Today-Dec. 27

* The Roger Mitteness farm south of Benson welcomes you to drive in and see the holiday lights up close between 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. A mailbox is available for comments, any money donated will go to the local 4-H club that helped put up the lights. The address is 525 20th Ave. S.E.; four miles south of Benson on Highway 29, turn left on 50th Avenue, go one mile east and turn onto 20th Avenue.

Today - Jan. 1

* "Celebrate the Light of the World," a fundraiser for the Salvation Army, will be open from 4:30 to 11 p.m. daily at Chad and Angela Koosman home, 3903 60th Ave. N.E., Willmar. Take Kandiyohi County Road 9 out past Willmar High School to the corner of County Road 9 and County Road 26. There will be two drive-in movies at 6:30 p.m. "The Elf" on Dec. 2 and "Alvin and the Chipmunks" on Dec. 3 followed immediately by fireworks. On Dec. 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. there will be horses pulling a carriage to Santa's Den for photographs, along with cookie decorating, carolers and the Willmar WarHawks. The lights will run all night on Christmas Eve.

Today — Jan. 2

* The Gralish's outdoor Santa's Workshop/Toys for Tots light display is open from dusk until 10 p.m. daily at 20955 115 St. N.E., New London. It's located just off of State Highway 23, about four miles north of New London near Long Lake. Take a right off Highway 23 at 115 Street Northeast. The display is on the left side of the road. There is a huge toy box collecting toys for Toys for Tots.

Today-Sunday

* The Barn Theatre presents "A Mostly Minnesota Christmas" 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the theater in downtown Willmar; $20 for adults and $10 for students. Box office open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays, call 320-235-9500; 321 Fourth St. S.W.

Sunday

* The annual Advent tea will be at 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Benson, with music by Dan Kallevig from Sunburg. Refreshments will be served by the St. Lucia girls.

* A pioneer Advent service will be at 2 p.m. in the Old Log Church of New London with Pastor Seyward Ask giving the message, followed by an old fashioned hymn sing in both Norwegian and English and traditional refreshments. The church, located at the intersection of County Road 40 and 99th Street Northwest near Norway Lake, is not heated. Dress warmly and bring a blanket for added comfort.

Sunday-Dec. 2

* The "Festive Forest" at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society Museum, 610 Business Highway 71 N.E. in Willmar, shows holiday trees created by local clubs and organizations. The display will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Dec. 1

* Ridgewater College Concert Choir and Fine Arts Club presents "Somewhere In My Memory," an evening of songs and stories, at 7 p.m. at the Willmar campus theater; admission is free.

* The Christmas Voices of Renville County will present a Christmas Cantata at 7 p.m. at St. Aloysius Church in Olivia. "A Noel Celebration" will be performed by 72 people from throughout Renville County under the direction of Deb Rath. Freewill donation will go to Santa's Closet and the Renville County Food Shelf; refreshments to follow the program.

Dec. 1-3

* Green Lake Lutheran Ministries presents a Christmas dinner theater "Bethlehem PD" at 5:30 p.m. at the Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer; $40 per person, call the camp for reservations at 320-796-2181.

Dec. 2-4

The third annual Holiday Soirée at the University of Minnesota, Morris, pairs festive food with seasonal music. Hosted by the Music Discipline Department, Dec. 2 will feature a concert of festive music by the University Choir, Chamber Singers and Brass and Wind ensembles in the recital hall. Tickets are $5 adults, seniors and children $3, at the door. A festive meal with dinner entertainment provided by the Morris' Blue Note Combo precede the Concert Choir presenting "Magnificat in D," two movements from Rachmaninoff "Vespers" and the Chamber Singers presenting seasonal selections in the recital hall; meal at 6:30 p.m. and concert 8 p.m. on Dec. 3 and meal at 12:30 p.m. and concert at 2 p.m. on Dec. 4. Tickets are available at tickets.umn.edu or 320-589-6077. Admission for the full evening, meal and performance is $27 for adults, $25 for seniors and $22 for students; performance only is $15 for adults, $13 seniors and $10 students.

Dec. 3

* The annual "Christmas at Trinity" will be from 9 a.m. to noon at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grove City. There will be a cookie walk, crafts, baked goods and ethnic goodies for sale. Brunch will be served. The church is located at 54384 U.S. Highway 12 East.

* "An Italiano Christmas in the Village" will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Historic Chippewa City, located at the junctions of Highways 7 and 59 in Montevideo. It will feature horse-drawn rides, candy and bake sales, crafters, Santa Claus, old-fashioned radio show, lunch line and the decorated village. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for ages 12-17 and children 11 and under admitted free.

* The 21st annual Pioneer Christmas will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Forest City Stockade. Admission is $5, ages 12 and under will be admitted free. Have a wagon or sleigh ride, visit with Santa, see a winter Native American encampment with teepee, wall tent and A-frame; tour the historic buildings, pioneer crafts and demonstrations. A variety of food will be available. Dress warmly as many of the activities will be outdoors. Forest City is north of Litchfield in Meeker County.

* Bake sales will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kandi Mall in Willmar; churches, schools, nonprofit groups and organizations are participating.

Dec. 4

* "Christmas at Sperry House" is open from 2 to 4 p.m. in the partially restored 1893 home. The home is decorated for Christmas and the tree displays a variety of 1800s (Victorian) ornaments. The Sperry House, part of the Kandiyohi County Historical Society, is located just west of the museum on North Business Highway 71 in Willmar. It is open by appointment during the week. Admission is free.

* Youth for Christ presents the Church Basement Ladies in "Away in the Basement" at 2 and 7 p.m. at WEAC in Willmar. Tickets are $25 and available at Good News Bookstore and the YFC office in Willmar, online at www.yfcminnesota.com and by calling 320-235-0119.

* A Christmas choir concert will be at 3 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church in New London to benefit the Link. The concert will feature the choirs from New London and Spicer area churches. Donations to the Link will be accepted.

Dec. 4-9

* The "Festive Forest" at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society Museum, 610 Business Highway 71 N.E. in Willmar, shows holiday trees created by local clubs and organizations. The display will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Dec. 5

* Rice Hospice will host the annual Share a Memory tree lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. in the Garden Court at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Additional ceremonies will be held in Appleton, Benson, Dawson, Granite Falls, Montevideo and Ortonville.

* The Willmar Senior High choirs will present identical concerts at 6 and 7:30 p.m. at the high school.

*The West Central Connection Chorus presents a Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. at the Willmar Community Center. All ages are encouraged to attend this free concert.

Dec. 7

* "Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols" will be presented at 6:30 p.m. by the choir at Trinity Lutheran Church, 220 S. 13th St., in Montevideo. It will be followed by an evening tea.

Dec. 8

* The Holiday Express 18-Wheeler presented by the Kandiyohi Men's Club and the Atwater Chamber will make four stops tonight. The schedule is 5:30 p.m. at the Lake Lillian Fire Hall, 6:15 p.m. at the Blomkest Fire Hall, 7:15 p.m. at the Raymond Community Center and 8:15 p.m. at the Pennock Community Center.

Dec. 8-11

* The 52nd annual night of music, "Shepherds and Kings," will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with 3 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday at the Assembly of God Church in Willmar. Tickets are free, but required, and available at the church, Good News Bookstore, Walt's, North American State Bank, Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop or on the church website www.willmarag.org. A freewill offering will benefit Somali Adult Literacy Training.

Dec. 9

* The Holiday Express 18-Wheeler presented by the Kandiyohi Men's Club and the Atwater Chamber will make five stops tonight. The schedule is 5:15 p.m. at the Lake Region Bank in Sunburg, 6 p.m. on Main Street in New London, 6:30 p.m. at the Green Lake Mall in Spicer, 7:15 p.m. at the Kandiyohi Civic Center and 8:15 p.m. at the YMCA in Willmar.

Dec. 9-10

* The 31st annual Springfield Nativity Pageant will be at 7 p.m. at Riverside Park in Springfield. The live pageant is presented outdoors and features a community choir and a live manger scene including camels. Dress for the weather. Admission is free.

Dec. 9-11

* Green Lake Lutheran Ministries presents a Christmas dinner theater "Bethlehem PD" at 5:30 p.m.Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer; $40 per person, call the camp for reservations at 320-796-2181.

Dec. 10

* The 63rd annual Lucia Day Festival will be from 9 a.m. to noon at Bethel Lutheran Church, 411 Becker Ave. S.W., in Willmar. The St. Lucia Lighting ceremony will be at 9 a.m., followed by coffee and music. Holiday baked goods for sale.

* Bake sales will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kandi Mall in Willmar; churches, schools, nonprofit groups and organizations are participating.

* A holiday sing-a-long of traditional carols and holiday songs will be at 4 p.m. at the Willmar Community Center; intergenerational community event, songsheets will be provided, come to sing or listen.

* The Holiday Express 18-Wheeler presented by the Kandiyohi Men's Club and the Atwater Chamber will make four stops tonight. The schedule is 5:30 p.m. at the Cosmos Legion parking lot, 6:45 p.m. in front of Kinsella Chiropractic in Litchfield, 7:30 p.m. at the Grove City Fire Hall and 8 p.m. at the Atwater Community Center.

* The Southwest Minnesota State University planetarium presents a Christmas laser show at 7 p.m. The planetarium, located in SM 108 on the Marshall campus, seats 82 people. Admission is $5; www.smsu.edu/planetarium.

Dec. 11

* "Christmas at Sperry House" is open from 2 to 4 p.m. in the partially restored 1893 home. The home is decorated for Christmas and the tree displays a variety of 1800s (Victorian) ornaments. The Sperry House, part of the Kandiyohi County Historical Society, is located just west of the museum on North Business Highway 71 in Willmar. It is open by appointment during the week. Admission is free.

Dec. 11-17

* The "Festive Forest" at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society Museum, 610 Business Highway 71 N.E. in Willmar, shows holiday trees created by local clubs and organizations. The display will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Dec. 12

*The Willmar Senior High band will present a concert at 6 p.m. at the high school.

* The Willmar grades 7-12 orchestras will present a concert at 7:30 p.m. at the high school.

* The Renville County West High School winter concert will be at 7:30 p.m. in the large gym in Renville.

Dec. 16

* The Willmar Public Library will have "Holiday Cookies and Holiday Hearts, That's the Way the Season Starts" story hour from 10 to 10:45 a.m. for ages 2-1/2 through 6. Celebrate the holidays with stories, crafts, singing and a treat. No registration necessary.

Dec. 16-18

* The Barn Theatre presents "Sounds of the Season" with the West Central Singers at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16-17 and 2 p.m. Dec. 18; adults $10, ages 18 and younger $5, call 320-235-9500.

Dec. 17

* The Willmar GEMS girls club will have a bake sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Rock of Life Christian Reformed Church in Willmar.

* Bake sales will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kandi Mall in Willmar; churches, schools, nonprofit groups and organizations are participating.

* The annual Christmas program will be held at the Historic Salem Community Church, four miles north of Paynesville. Sleigh rides with real reindeer will be given from 3 to 4:15 p.m., followed by the program at 4:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served following the program. Bring a non-perishable food item for the Paynesville Community Center; freewill donation.

* The Southwest Minnesota State University planetarium presents a Christmas laser show at 7 p.m. The planetarium, located in SM 108 on the Marshall campus, seats 82 people. Admission is $5; www.smsu.edu/planetarium.

Dec. 18

* "Christmas at Sperry House" is open from 2 to 4 p.m. in the partially restored 1893 home. The home is decorated for Christmas and the tree displays a variety of 1800s (Victorian) ornaments. The Sperry House, part of the Kandiyohi County Historical Society, is located just west of the museum on North Business Highway 71 in Willmar. It is open by appointment during the week. Admission is free.

Dec. 18-23

* The "Festive Forest" at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society Museum, 610 Business Highway 71 N.E. in Willmar, shows holiday trees created by local clubs and organizations. The display will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Dec. 19

* Lori Line presents a holiday show "A Merry Little Christmas" at 7:30 at Memorial Auditorium in Dawson; reserved seating tickets are $49, ages 4 and up, call 800-801-5463.

Dec. 21

* A Winter Solstice Celebration will be from 6 to 7:30 pm. at Sibley State Park Interpretive Center. Learn how many of our holiday traditions from caroling to mistletoe have evolved from ancient traditions related to this special night, then head outside around the bonfire and a wassail social.

Dec. 23

* The annual Lillejulaften (Little Christmas Eve) Norwegian language worship service will be at 7 p.m. at Calvary Lutheran Church, 302 Olena Ave. in Willmar. The service will feature Norwegian scripture readings, prayers and songs. The service folder will be in Norwegian with a full English translation. Those with Norwegian sweaters and/or bunads are asked to wear them.

* The Southwest Minnesota State University planetarium presents a Christmas laser show at 7 p.m. The planetarium, located in SM 108 on the Marshall campus, seats 82 people. Admission is $5; www.smsu.edu/planetarium.

Dec. 24

* The Southwest Minnesota State University planetarium presents a Christmas laser show at 2 p.m. The planetarium, located in SM 108 on the Marshall campus, seats 82 people. Admission is $5; www.smsu.edu/planetarium.

Dec. 25

* Christmas in the Barn at Dale and Debbie Tonsfeldt, 13200 15th Street Southeast, Blomkest. The 9:30 a.m. Svea Lutheran Church service will include singing and a live nativity. Everyone is welcome, please dress warmly.

Dec. 27-30

* The "Festive Forest" at the Kandiyohi County Historical Society Museum, 610 Business Highway 71 N.E. in Willmar, shows holiday trees created by local clubs and organizations. The display will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free.

Dec. 31

* The annual New Year's Eve Celebration will be from 4:30 to 8 p.m. at the Kandiyohi County Area Family YMCA. Bring the family out for a night of fun at the Y and celebrate the start of the new year. There will be carnival games, prizes, inflatables, swimming and food. Everyone is welcome.

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