The calendar has yet to reach December, and it’s already looking a lot like Christmas in downtown Iola.
A group of volunteers, spearheaded by Iolan Tracy Keagle, spent the better part of a weekend recently creating a spectacle of light on the Allen County Courthouse lawn.
Not content with decorating the trees already on the property, the volunteers embarked on an “adopt-a-tree” effort to align the south sidewalk with artificial light displays.
The effort has paid off beautifully, with a holiday light showpiece certain the catch the eye of passersby young and old.
“When you’re old like me, you remember what the square looked like when we were kids,” Keagle said, recalling the strings of lights and garland stretching from light pole to light pole. “I wanted to recreate something like that for kids today.”
A number of other volunteers lent a hand as well.
Iola Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Carol Sager and husband John, Iolans John and Georgia Masterson, Gary and Leah Stout, Ryan Sparks and Aaron and Allegra Franklin were instrumental in getting the light display put together in short order.
And just in the St. Nick of time.
Santa arrives at his temporary quarters on the southeast corner of the square Thursday evening, from 5 to 7. A candy cane hunt is scheduled as well.
Once again, free trolley rides will be given around downtown Iola for kids and their parents to check out elegantly decorated Christmas scenes.
Santa returns each Thursday evening until Christmas.
Keagle, meanwhile, is working feverishly on reopening Santa’s toy shop Dec. 21, complete with an Iola kazoo parade and other activities. The toy shop will be at 7 E. Madison on the south side of the square.
THE DOWNTOWN buzz is just a sliver of other holiday happenings.
Colony, Bronson and Moran all have Christmas activities planned for Saturday.
Santa arrives in Bronson at 11 a.m. before making his way to the Moran Christmas parade at 2 p.m. Mr. Kringle then regroups briefly for the Colony Christmas parade at 6:30 p.m. Colony also has a chili supper at 4 o’clock, tree trimming ceremony at 6:15 and street lighting ceremony at 6:25.
For those looking to do some shopping, Christmas craft shows are planned for Saturday at Humboldt High School, Lone Elm Community Building and in Bronson.
AREA SCHOOLS will get into the act with their Christmas and winter concerts and pageants.
Those on the calendar:
— Today, 7 p.m., Marmaton Valley grades 5-12 band and choir Christmas concert, MVHS gymnasium.
— Thursday, 7 p.m., Iola High School winter band concert, Bowlus Fine Arts Center.
— Thursday, 7 p.m., Humboldt middle school/high school choir concert.
— Sunday, 3 p.m., Tuba Christmas, presented by Allen Community College, Bowlus.
— Tuesday, 7 p.m., Jefferson Elementary School Christmas program, Bowlus.
— Dec. 8, 7 p.m., McKinley Elementary School Christmas program, Bowlus.
— Dec. 11, 1 p.m., Allen Community College choir concert, Creitz Recital Hall, Bowlus.
— Dec. 11, 3 p.m., Iola’s Christmas Vespers concert, First Presbyterian Church (Kathleen McCollam will begin with a musical prelude at 2:45.)
— Dec. 12, 7 p.m., Southern Coffey County schools winter program, 7 p.m.
— Dec. 13, 7 p.m., Lincoln Elementary School Christmas program, Bowlus.
— Dec. 14, 7 p.m., Marmaton Valley Elementary School Christmas program.
— Dec. 14, 7 p.m., Crest K-12 Christmas concert.
— Dec. 15, 7 p.m., Iola Middle School band concert, Bowlus.
— Dec. 19, 7 p.m., IHS/IMS strongs concert, Creitz Recital Hall, Bowlus.
— Dec. 20, 7 p.m., IMS/IHS choir concert, Bowlus.
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