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A season of cheer: Communities open their doors for holiday events

The holiday season brings many special festivities. From family gatherings to school concerts, community celebrations to church programs, there are many events in which people may choose to participate.

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The Celebrate the Light of the World drive-thru Christmas light display at Robbins Island Park in Willmar, shown here in 2019, will be on display from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo
Erica Dischino

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.

Through Dec. 31

  • The fourth annual Meeker County Museum Christmas tree village with trees decorated by Meeker County nonprofit organizations, open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Nov. 27; $3.

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The Celebrate the Light of the World drive-thru Christmas light display at Robbins Island Park in Willmar, shown here in 2020, will be on display from 5 to 10 p.m. nightly through Jan. 1. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo
Through Jan. 1

  • The Celebrate the Light of the World light display open from 5 to 10 p.m. daily at Robbins Island in Willmar . Nonprofits benefiting from the freewill donations are The Salvation Army of Willmar, Habitat for Humanity of West Central Minnesota, Kandiyohi County Food Shelf and United Way of West Central Minnesota.

Nov. 28

  • The annual Advent program will be at 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Benson . There will be a Christmas carol singalong and scripture and the St. Lucia girls. A Christmas cookie treat box will be sent home with you. Everyone is welcome.
  • A pioneer Advent service will be at 3:30 p.m. in the Old Log Church of Norway Lake with an old-fashioned hymn sing and short outdoor service. Drive up, drive through or step out and enjoy the company and treats. Dress warmly or remain in the comfort of your automobile. The log church address is 9601 195th Avenue NW, Pennock , which is north of Kandiyohi County Road 40, west of New London .

Dec. 1

  • “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 refreshments.

Dec. 2-5

  • The Barn Theatre presents “Elf, the Musical,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the theater in downtown Willmar; adults $20 and students $10. Box office open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, call 320-235-9500 or visit thebarntheatre.com ; 321 Fourth St. S.W., Willmar.

Dec. 3

  • The 15th annual Stuff the Ambulance Toy Drive from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Uptown Willmar (formerly Kandi Mall) main entrance. Donate new, unwrapped toys and cash donations that will be distributed by the Salvation Army in Willmar.
  • The Willmar Public Library will have a holiday movie for children at 4 p.m. Call the library for the title.

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A horse-drawn carriage rides through Historic Chippewa City during the 2018 Christmas in the Village event in Montevideo. The annual event will take place Dec. 4, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo
Erica Dischino
Dec. 4

  • The 27th annual “Christmas at Trinity” will be from 9 a.m. to noon at Trinity Lutheran Church in Grove City . There will be cards, napkins, quilts and baked goods and ethnic goodies for sale. Brunch will be served; adults $11, ages 10 and under $6, take-outs $11.50, coffee and roll $4. The church is located at 54384 U.S. Highway 12 East, Grove City.
  • “Christmas in the Village: A Simpler Time, Celebrating 150 Years of Christmas” 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 and an old-fashioned radio show at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., lunch available in the Village Hall, and the decorated village. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for ages 12-17 and children 11 and under admitted free.
  • The 25th 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.
  • Passport to Christmas in Atwater will be from 10 a.m. through the evening with the first clue for the Medallion Hunt posted on the digital community board at 10 a.m. Children’s activities passports available at City Hall beginning Nov. 29 for use from 1 to 4 p.m. at various businesses, Santa parade at 5 p.m. concluding with hot cocoa and s’mores at Centennial Park with Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will be a community house-lighting contest open to all residents within the 56209 zip code area; register on the Facebook page Atwater Festival Days .
  • A Hot Jazz Christmas will begin at 9 a.m. and have activities into the evening at the Little Theatre in New London. There will be a cookie walk and welcoming party from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Santa selfies and easy jazz from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., cookie walk contest at 2 p.m., Eli’s holiday drink demonstration at 3 p.m., ending with a dance party with “Miss Myra and the Moonshiners” from 7 to 9:30 p.m.; fees charged for some items.

Dec. 6-10

  • “Christmas at Sperry House” is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays 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. Admission is $3 adults, kids 12 and under are free. Closed Dec. 24 and 31.

Dec. 6-Jan. 3

  • 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. daily. 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 right (south) onto 20th Avenue.

Dec. 6

  • The Willmar Senior High choirs will present identical concerts at 6 and 7:30 p.m. at the Brau Performing Arts Center at the high school.

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Christmas cheer was spread from around the globe during the 2018 Christmas in the Village at Historic Chippewa City in Montevideo. The annual celebration will take place Dec. 4, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo
Erica Dischino
Dec. 9-12

  • Green Lake Lutheran Ministries presents a Christmas Dinner Theater “Pert’ Near Home, A Bonanza Valley Bluegrass Tale” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday with 12:30 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday at the Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer; $75, call the camp for reservations at 320-796-2181.
  • The Barn Theatre presents “Elf, the Musical,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the theater in downtown Willmar; adults $20 and students $10. Box office open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, call 320-235-9500 or visit thebarntheatre.com ; 321 Fourth St. S.W., Willmar.

Dec. 9

  • The Willmar Public Library will have STEMtastic Holiday Salt Circuits 4 p.m. for children ages 7-12. Build a salt circuit in the shape of your favorite seasonal design.
  • The Litchfield Area Male Chorus presents “A Garland of Carols,” a holiday concert at 7 p.m. at the Litchfield Christian Church; freewill donation.

Dec. 10-11

  • The 35th 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. 11

  • The New London Senior Citizens will have a Christmas bake and craft sale from 8 a.m. to noon at the Community Center, 101 Second Avenue Southwest, New London.
  • Holiday Trivia from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Willmar Community Center. Teams can consist of no more than five players, and prizes will be awarded to the top three teams after completing six rounds.
  • The Southwest Minnesota State University planetarium presents the “Star of Wonder” holiday laser light show at 7 p.m. The planetarium, located in SM 108 on the Marshall campus, seats 82 people. Admission is $5, available only at the door; information online at facebook.com/smsuplanetarium .

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The Christmas Tree Village exhibit at the Meeker County Museum in Litchfield, seen here in 2019, is on display through Dec. 31. Meeker County organizations and non-profits each decorated a tree for which exhibit-goers can vote to decide which is the best. Admission is $3. The exhibit is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo
Erica Dischino
Dec. 13

  • The Willmar Senior High orchestra will present a concert at 6 p.m. at the Brau Performing Arts Center at the high school.

The Willmar Senior High bands will present a concert at 7 p.m. at the Brau Performing Arts Center at the high school.

Dec. 13-17

  • “Christmas at Sperry House” is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays 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. Admission is $3 adults, kids 12 and under are free. Closed Dec. 24 and 31.

Dec. 14

  • The Willmar Public Library will have holiday crafts at 5:30 p.m. for children. Pre-registration on the library website.

Dec. 16-19

  • The Barn Theatre presents “Elf, the Musical,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the theater in downtown Willmar; adults $20 and students $10. Box office open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, call 320-235-9500 or visit thebarntheatre.com ; 321 Fourth St. S.W., Willmar.

Dec. 17

  • The Sweetest Christmas Soiree at 7 p.m. benefiting Bethesda Foundation. A virtual show of local musicians performing their favorite Christmas selections alongside your chance to bid on a variety of holiday-themed auction items featuring the area’s sweetest baked goods and candies. Event and auction will be on the Bethesda Facebook page .

Dec. 18

  • The annual Christmas program will be held at the Historic Salem Community Church, four miles north of Paynesville. Horse-drawn wagon rides 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 and/or a toy that will be delivered to the Paynesville Community Center; freewill donation for the restoration and upkeep of Salem church and cemetery.
  • Movies on Ice at the Willmar Civic Center, open skating 6:30 p.m., movie 7 p.m., skates available on first-come, first-served basis, bring your own skates if you have them.

Dec. 18-19

  • The Southwest Minnesota State University planetarium presents the “Star of Wonder” holiday laser light show at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the planetarium, located in SM 108 on the Marshall campus, seats 82 people. Admission is $5, available only at the door; information online at facebook.com/smsuplanetarium .

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Madison Thorpe, Kierra Miller and Molli Standberg are the St. Lucia Day maidens for the 2015 celebration at Bethel Lutheran Church in Willmar. St. Lucia Day marks the opening of the Christmas season in Sweden and symbolized the changing of darkness to light. The annual festival will take place from 10:30 to noon on Dec. 19, 2021. Rand Middleton / West Central Tribune file photo
Dec. 19

  • The 69th annual Lucia Day Festival will be from 10:30 to noon at Bethel Lutheran Church, 411 Becker Ave. S.W., in Willmar. The St. Lucia Lighting ceremony will be in the fellowship hall where guests may enjoy coffee and treats.
  • The West Central Connection Chorus presents “An Old Fashion Christmas” at 3 p.m. at the Assembly of God Church in Willmar. The concert of traditional Christmas songs performed in the a cappella barbershop style will also feature the Sweet Adelines’ “Affinity Quartet,” Peggy Soucek, the Broberg Family and the Assembly of God worship ensemble. A freewill offering will benefit the local Toys for Tots.

Dec. 20-23

  • “Christmas at Sperry House” is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays 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. Admission is $3 adults, kids 12 and under are free. Closed Dec. 24 and 31.

Dec. 22

  • A teen holiday party will be at 5:30 p.m. at the Willmar Public Library. A white elephant gift game, Jackbox games, and crafting ornaments. Snacks and drinks provided. Pre-registration required on the library website .

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.

Dec. 24

  • The Southwest Minnesota State University planetarium presents the “Star of Wonder” Holiday laser light show at 2 p.m. The planetarium, located in SM 108 on the Marshall campus, seats 82 people. Admission is $5, available only at the door; information online at facebook.com/smsuplanetarium

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Ellie Bowen, dressed as Mary, and the rest of the nativity scene stand in Dale and Debbie Tonsfeldt’s barn in Svea during the 2017 Svea Lutheran Church service. The event will take place once again on Christmas Day at 9:30 a.m. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune file photo
Dec. 25

  • Christmas in the Barn at Dale and Debbie Tonsfeldt farm, 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

  • “Christmas at Sperry House” is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays 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. Admission is $3 adults, kids 12 and under are free. Closed Dec. 31.
  • The Kandiyohi County Historical Society Museum, 610 Business Highway 71 N.E. in Willmar, will be celebrating the new year from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday. There will be a selfie photo booth and stations to make your own party hat and decorate your New Year’s glass. Admission is $3 adults, kids 12 and under are free. Three special events will be held at 1 p.m. with a limit of 30 persons due to COVID-19 restrictions, so it will be first come, first served. Dec. 28 is Bingo; Dec. 29 is make-it-and-take-it project of New Year’s noisemakers; and Dec. 30 is make-it-and-take-it project of a 2022 suncatcher.

Dec. 30

  • The Willmar Public Library will have a Lego and Duplo free play day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. No kits will be available.

What to read next
Exhibits on display in the next month
Museum hours and special events in the next month
Community and high school art events will be printed each Wednesday in this calendar up to two weeks in advance. The deadline is noon Friday. Items may be emailed to news@wctrib.com with “arts calendar item” in the subject line.
Art classes and meetings in the area