Take a ‘merry and bright’ drive through SW Iowa

By Jacki Wood

‘Tis the Season to take a day trip.

After the COVID-19 pandemic canceled many holiday events last year, the festivities return this month. Driving through southwest Iowa provides plenty of merry adventures this Christmas season in Clarinda, Atlantic and Creston.


Celebrate the start of the Christmas season with a drive to Clarinda.

For more information on holiday events, contact the Chamber at clarinda.org or 712.542.2166.

November 26

The 29th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade, “An Old-Fashioned Christmas,” will be held at 6 pm in downtown Clarinda.

Following the parade, children will be able to visit Santa Claus at the Santa House on the Page County Courthouse lawn.

December 2

Come hungry to the annual Taste of Clarinda where you can sample favorite holiday recipes, collect recipe cards and shop at participating businesses from 4 to 6:30 pm.

December 5

The Nodaway Valley Historical Museum will host a Community Christmas Tree Lighting at 5 pm, 1600 South 16th Street, with the displays open from 1 to 6 pm.

Info: nodawayvalleymuseum.org or 712.542.3073.


Atlantic has been named Travel Iowa’s number one Christmas destination with its more than 200,000 LED lights, strung along blocks of historic buildings and home to a variety of gift shops and boutiques.

Info: atlanticiowa.com/chamber or 712.243.3017.

November 27

Enjoy a warm hot chocolate and treat at Santa’s Cabin from 1:30 to 3:30 pm at the Atlantic City Park. Stay for a carriage ride through the downtown area.

Santa’s Cabin will also be open from 5 to 7 pm on December 2, 9, 16 and 23; 3 to 5:30 pm on December 4 with carriage rides; and 1:30 to 3:30 pm on December 11 and 18.

December 2 to 5

The Festival of Trees returns at the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, 106 West 6th, with trees decorated in a range of themes and decor.

December 4

Fireworks over the Historic Rock Island Depot kick off the Lighted Parade at 6 pm which runs along Chesnut Street.

December 5

The Holiday Concert features local talent of all ages. The free event begins at 3 pm at the First United Methodist Church, 800 Poplar Street.


“There’s No Place Like Creston for the Holidays” kicks off in early December with Santa, parade, entertainment, art and more.

Info: crestoniowachamber.com or 641.782.7021.

December 2 

The Festival of Trees runs 9 am to 7 pm at American Home Design Center and also 8 am to 4:30 pm on December 3 and 8 am to noon on December 4.

Visit the Depot for the Creston Arts Gallery which opens at 4:30 pm followed by a Soup Supper at 5 pm. You can also enjoy cider, hot chocolate and donut holes and a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 5 to 7 pm.

At 7 pm, the Lighted Christmas Parade will begin in uptown Creston with a Holiday Jazz Open House following.

December 3

The Creston Area Theatre will present “Candy Canes Forever” at 7 pm at Uptown Brick and Bell. A second showing will be held at 2 pm on December 4.

December 4

The Merry Marketplace, filled with shopping, sipping, holiday displays and demonstrations, will be from 10 am to 4 pm in uptown Creston.

December 8

The Union County Historical Village will host Holiday Tea at the Village from 1 to 3 pm and also at the same time on December 11.

December 11

Santa returns to the Depot from 9:30 am to noon.

Tuba Christmas will be presented at 4:30 pm at SWCC room 180.

The light of the season shines at area churches

The churches in Nodaway County prepare to celebrate “The Reason for the Season” with the following worship opportunities.


United Methodist Church

Outdoor bell ringing, and if weather permits, reading the Christmas Story and singing a Christmas hymn, Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24 starting at 6 pm.

Burlington Jct.

First Christian Church

Blue Christmas, Sunday, December 19, 6 pm.

Christmas Eve service, Friday, December 24, 7 pm.

United Methodist Church

Christmas Eve service, Friday, December 24, 4:30 pm.

Christmas Service, Sunday, December 26, 9:45 am.


Benedictine Convent

No public Christmas Eve Mass.


United Methodist Church

“The Heart that Grew Three Sizes,” Grinch Advent sermon series, Sundays, November 28, December 5, 12 and 19 at 11 am.

Children’s Christmas Craft Day, Saturday, December 11, 11 am to 3 pm.

Christmas Eve Candlelight service, Friday, December 24, 5 pm.


United Methodist Church

The congregation will be gathering at 6 pm, Saturday, December 18 for community caroling and a soup supper with fellowship following.


The Bridge

BridgeKids Christmas Play, Sunday, December 12, 9 and 10:30 am.

Christmas at The Bridge, Sunday, December 19, 9 and 10:30 am.

Christmas Eve Candlelight service, Friday, December 24, 6 pm.

First Baptist Church

Living Christmas Tree, Friday – Sunday, December 10, 11 and 12, 6:30 pm.

Christmas Eve service, Friday, December 24, 5 pm.

First Christian Church

Children’s Christmas Program, Sunday, December 12, 10:30 am.

Candlelight Christmas Eve service, Friday, December 24, 7 pm.

First United Methodist Church

“God with Us” Advent Worship series, Sunday, November 28, ”Our Potter,” Sunday, December 5, “Our Shepherd,” Sunday, December 12, “Our Living Branch,” Sunday, December 19, “Our Guide,” all at 9 and 11 am.

Blue Christmas, “When Christmas Hurts,” for those who have undergone a loss, transition, life change, separation or divorce, struggling to find employment or facing depression or family crisis, Monday, December 13, 7 pm.

Christmas Eve service, communion and candlelight worship, Friday, December 24, 7 pm.

Laura Street Baptist Church

“Special Delivery” Children’s Choir Musical, Sunday, December 5, 7 pm.

Christmas Musical, Sunday, December 19, 8:15 and 10:45 am.

Christmas Eve Candlelight service, Friday, December 24, 7 pm.

St. Gregory’s Catholic Church

Immaculate Conception Vigil Mass, Tuesday, December 7, 5:30 pm.

Immaculate Conception Mass, Wednesday, December 8, 8 am.

Penance Service and Soup Supper, Monday, December 13, 5:30 pm.

Christmas Eve Mass, Friday, December 24, 4 pm and 6 pm; Christmas Vigil Mass, 10 pm.

Christmas Day Mass, Saturday, December 25, 9 am.

The Holy Family Masses, Sunday, December 26, 8 and 10:30 am.

Mass for the Holy Mother of God, Friday, December 31, 5 pm. Not a Holy day of obligation this year.

Mass, Vigil of Epiphany, Saturday, January 1, 2022, 5 pm.

Epiphany Masses, Sunday, January 2, 2022, 8 and 10:30 am.


United Methodist Church

Christmas Eve service, Friday, December 24, 6:30 pm.


Christian Church

Christmas Eve service, Friday, December 24, 5 pm.


United Methodist Church

Christmas Eve service, Friday, December 24, 6 pm.

Christmas Church service, Sunday, December 26, 11 am.

Events to be throughout county

Thanksgiving Day Dinner

The fourth annual Thanksgiving Day Dinner, available for pick-up or home delivery only, 11 am to 1 pm, Thursday, Thanksgiving, November 25 at the Nodaway County Senior Center, 1210 East First Street, Maryville. The full Thanksgiving dinner is a freewill donation and open to the public.

To place your order, make a monetary donation or volunteer as a driver, call 660.562.3999.

Turkey Toss Cornhole Tournament

The Turkey Toss will start at 4:30 pm, Saturday, November 27 at The Hangar. All proceeds will go to the St. Francis Foundation neonatal unit and birthing beds. Registration ends at noon, Friday, November 26 at eventbrite.com/e/turkey-toss-cornhole-tournament-tickets.

Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday, November 27, urges individuals to buy local and support their communities.

Christmas Movie Matinees

Free Christmas Movie Matinee will be held at 1:30 pm, Sundays, November 28, December 5, 12 and 19 at The Hangar. Choice of movies will be “Elf,” “The Polar Express,” “Christmas Story” and “Christmas Vacation.”

Makers’ Monday: A Pop-up Party

The Makers’ Monday: A Pop-up Party will take place from 5 to 8 pm, Monday, November 29 at the Northside Mall on East Fourth Street.

Downtown and Courthouse Lighting

The Downtown and Courthouse lighting ceremony will be at 6 pm, Monday, November 29.


The 10th Annual St. Francis Foundation #GivingTuesday event at A&G Souper Bonanza will be 11 am to 2 pm, Tuesday, November 30. For each Souper Bonanza purchased, $17 will be donated to the St. Francis Foundation by the following generous sponsors: A&G Restaurant, Brock and Karen Pfost, Jim and Beverly Blackford, Emily and Deno Groumoutis, Jim and Teresa Jacoby, Nate and Andrea Blackford, JR and Sarah Kurz, Dr. Benjamin and Erin Kinderknecht, Katy and Ed Gumm, Kay and Norman Wilson, Rex and Peggy Younger, Dr. Pat and Teri Harr, MMC-M Auxiliary, John and Susan Yancey, Roger and Stacy Bundridge, Randy and Judy Frueh and John and Beth Baker.

Conception Abbey will hold #GivingTuesday activities from 6 to 8 pm, Tuesday, November 30. Students and community members will gather to make area families in need a brighter and merrier Christmas.

Tour of Lights, Maryville

The Tour of Lights in Maryville judging will take place Wednesday, December 1 though Sunday, December 5. Sign up to be included ends at midnight, Tuesday, November 30 at https:bit.ly/3Dp5NGW.

Ribbon Cutting at Pocket Park

The ribbon cutting for the Downtown Pocket Park will be at 3 pm, Thursday, December 2.

Christmas Parade, Winter Wonderland and Santa

The Christmas Parade will go down North Main Street starting at 6:30 pm, Friday, December 3 and will end at Winter Wonderland for the official lighting and Santa beginning at 7:15 pm.

Christmas Shop Hop

The Christmas Shop Hop will begin at 9 am, Saturday, December 4. Hosting the event are Ferluknat Farm, Kitchen and Bath Source, White Elm, Blue Willow, Maryville Florists, The Hangar, LaChic, The Haircut Place, Simply Posh Boutique and Barnyard Boutique.

Santa’s Workshop

A Santa’s Workshop will be held at Meyer Chevrolet from noon to 3 pm, Saturdays, December 4, 11 and 18. Free crafts, hot cocoa, photo booth and freewill donation gift wrapping.

Senior Center Craft Fair

The Nodaway County Senior Center Craft Fair will be from 8 am to 2 pm, Sunday, December 5.

Home Tour

The Fifth Annual Under the Son Ministry’s Homes Tour will be 1 to 5 pm, Sunday, December 5. Tickets are $20 each and are available at a number of businesses, including Ferluknat Farms. Proceeds will go to support Under the Son’s outreach programs.

Christmas Under the Stars

Christmas under the Stars will be from 5 to 7 pm, Sunday, December 5 at the Barnard Depot. Santa will be there, along with hot cocoa, activities for children, Angie Coleman’s cinnamon rolls and the Christmas Tree lighting.

Breakfast in Whoville

The Maryville Parks and Rec will have two Breakfasts in Whoville at 8:30 and 9:30 am, Saturday, December 11. Registration is required to attend the events.

Ravenwood Winter Festival

The Ravenwood Winter Festival will feature a parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus, carriage rides, games, lights and activities on Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12.

Register by December 1 at 660.254.1460 for the Christmas Lights contest; must live in Jackson township. “Winter Wonderland” lighted Christmas parade will be at 6:30 pm, Saturday, and Christmas drive-thru at the city park will be from 7 to 8 pm, Saturday, including a Live Nativity by the Ravenwood Christian Church youth group.

Holiday Bake Sale and Home Tour

The Nodaway County Historical Society presents a Holiday Bake Sale and Home Tour from 9 am to 1 pm, Saturday, December 11. The bake sale is at the museum, 110 North Walnut, Maryville. Admission is free. All exhibit galleries and buildings are open for tours.

The home tour is at 211 Lawn Avenue, Maryville. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and children. They are available for purchase at the museum, 1 to 4 pm, Tuesdays through Fridays.

Nodaway Chorale Holiday Concert

The Nodaway Chorale Holiday Concert begins at 2 pm, Sunday, December 12 at the Maryville High School Schneider Performing Arts Center. Admission is free; donations are welcome. Special guest is the MHS Spectrum Choir.

Holiday Storytime

The Maryville Public Library will have three Holiday Storytimes. Two are for infants and toddlers and are from 9:45 to 10:45 am, Tuesday, December 14 and Tuesday, December 21. The third is for preschoolers and is from 5:30 to 6:30 pm, Thursday, December 16.

Uniquely Nodaway

The grand prize Uniquely Nodaway drawing is Monday, December 20.

Scrooge Night

Scrooge Night will be from 6 to 9 pm, Thursday, December 23 in the Downtown Pocket Park. There will be a movie, concessions and a wrapping station.

It’s a Real Christmas

The 31st annual Christmas Day Buffet “It’s a Real Christmas” will be from 11:30 am to 1 pm, Saturday, Christmas, December 25 at the Nodaway County Senior Center, 1210 East First, Maryville. The full Christmas meal with dessert will be available for pick-up or home delivery only. Open to the public. Freewill donation.

To place your order before 9 am for delivery, call 660.562.3999.

To make a monetary donation, make checks payable to “It’s a Real Christmas” and drop off or mail to the senior center.

Area schools sparkle during the holiday season

Whether it’s called holiday, winter or Christmas festivities, Nodaway County schools sparkle during December with special memory making activities.


Collection for Books and Bears, which will be given to Mosaic Medical Center in Maryville and Albany, now through Wednesday, December 22.

#Giving Tuesday participation, 6 to 8 pm, Tuesday, November 30 at Conception Abbey.

Santa’s workshop at Teen Beat, Saturday, December 4.

FCA Chili Cook-Off from 4:30 to 7 pm, Friday, December 10.

National Honor Society will decorate the American Legion Post 464 building for Santa’s arrival, Friday, December 17.

Santa arrives at 2 pm, Saturday, December 18 at the AL Post. Santa is sponsored by the Tri-C Fire Department and the AL Auxiliary.

Pre-K through 12th grade Christmas Parade, 8:20 am, Tuesday, December 21. Students will parade in their Christmas costumes. NHS will judge and give prizes. NHS will sort and package the Books and Bears at 2:30 pm, which will be delivered over winter break.

Maryville High School Performing Arts Center

Eugene Field Concerts, 5:30 and 6:30 pm, Monday, December 6.

Eugene Field Concerts, 5:30 and 6:30 pm, Tuesday, December 7.

“Legally Blonde” musical, 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday, December 10 and 11.

Nodaway Chorale and Spectrum concert, 2 pm, Sunday, December 12.

High School Vocal Concert, 7 pm, Monday, December 13.

St. Gregory Barbarigo School Christmas Concert, 7 pm, Wednesday, December 15.

Maryville Middle School vocal concert, 7 pm, Thursday, December 16.

Middle and High School band concert, 6 pm, Monday, December 20.

Maryville Middle School

Food drive, Monday, December 6 through Friday, December 10.

Jazz band concert, 2 pm, Sunday, December 19 at the MHS PAC.

North Nodaway

Middle School/High School band and choir concert, 6 pm, Tuesday, December 14 at the little gym at Hopkins.

Elementary music concert, 6 pm, Thursday, December 16 at the little gym in Hopkins.

Northeast Nodaway

Music concerts for grades preK through second, 6 to 6:20 pm; grades third through sixth, 6:30 to 7 pm, Wednesday, December 8; and grades seven through 12 including band, at 6 pm, Tuesday, December 14.

FFA Spaghetti Dinner at the Bluejays vs. Worth County Tigers high school basketball game, 5 to 6 pm, Tuesday, December 7 at the NEN old gym. The meal is a freewill donation to support FFA. Dress like a farmer for free admission to the game.

St. Gregory Barbarigo School

Middle schoolers will go Christmas Caroling from 1 to 1:45 pm, Thursday, December 16 at Oak Pointe.

West Nodaway

The winter music concerts will be at 6:30 pm, Wednesday, December 15 for grades third through fifth; and 6:30 pm, Thursday, December 16 for grades six through 12.

Facebook Comments