Delano officially will kick off its Christmas season with a weekend of events Friday, Nov. 30 and Saturday, Dec. 1.
Festivities will include the traditional Christmas Tree Lighting at 7 p.m. on Friday at Rivers Edge Park and the fourth annual Old Fashioned Christmas from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in downtown Delano. Eateries in Delano will be open before and after the tree lighting. For Old Fashioned Christmas, all of downtown Delano will be open and festive. Santas and holiday characters will be abundant on both days.
Delano’s traditional Christmas tree is alive and growing in River’s Edge Park, located between the Three Crows and Bridge Avenue on River Street. Santa and the Delano Royalty will arrive at 7 p.m. on Friday to get the tree lighting event going. After a welcome by Delano Mayor Dale Graunke, tree lights will come to life and caroling and sleigh rides will begin.
The Delano Area Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the event, is asking for donations of gently used winter coats, blankets, gloves and scarves, along with non perishable food items for Love in the Name of Christ Heartland (Love INC) and Delano Helping Hands Food Shelf. Donations can be dropped off at the tree lighting or at participating Delano businesses.
On Saturday, Old Fashioned Christmas will spread out all over downtown Delano — inside and outside. Delano City Hall at Bridge Avenue and Second Street is headquarters for maps and schedules for all activities and locations of artists featured in the traditional Art Walk.
The sponsoring organization, Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture, promises beautiful art objects, music, stories and drama for the whole family in this free holiday event.
A main attraction is the Art Walk inside hosting downtown businesses. More than 20 area artists will exhibit and sell their unique creations in time for holiday gift giving.
Delano artist Sarah Plese will make her fourth appearance on the Art Walk. Her handmade jewelry is created using traditional metal smith techniques. Copper, stones, beads and other found objects accent the sterling silver jewelry.
Other featured artists, Joe Mueller and his wife have been landscape/garden designers and installers for many years. From salvaged wood he build arbors and herb boxes for gardens. From scraps of the wood he began making small treasure boxes and other wood items. Currently he has been focused on what he calls “objects of useful beauty,” which include spatulas, spoons, coffee scoops, salt boxes, and cutting boards. And he still makes the little treasure boxes.
Pamela Davis is a fabric artist who takes her projects all the way from the birth of her Shetland and Icelandic sheep, to processing their fleece into yarn, and then to knitting or felting a final piece. She hand spins the yarn for clothing or fiber art pieces.
Artwork available on the Art Walk will include photography, painting, jewelry, and creations made of glass, paper, fabric, wood and metal. As visitors talk visit with artists and learn about their work, they can their programs stamped and enter a drawing to win original pieces of art from participating artists.
Anyone who wants to shop will find crafts and other home based products at the Rivertown Boutique, located in the Community Education Building on Elm Avenue at Second Street. At the Delano Heritage Center across from City Hall, visitors will see weaving and spinning demonstrations plus more creations available for purchase. Shoppers also can select a fresh Christmas tree from the Delano Lions Club special display.
The Arts Council has planned activities for all ages. The littlest ones can join in the Teddy Bear Tea, planned by Early Child and Family Education, with stories and “tea” at the Community Education Building.
Children will want to stop at the Senior Center in City Hall for a 10:30 a.m. program entitled “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Senior writers and singers are preparing the program.
The Delano Public Library, 160 Railroad Ave. E., is sponsoring a holiday ornament decorating project. Abrakadoodle will be on hand to help young artists make a swirled paint ornament in a glass bulb. This activity is ongoing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and young children must be accompanied by an adult.
Children can participate in the holiday hunt and look for winter and holiday costumed characters who will greet visitors on downtown streets. All will receive a gift bag and have a chance to win prizes.
Music will be heard throughout the day. Church choirs and student groups will bundle up and sing on downtown streets or on City Hall steps. In the afternoon a bell choir will offer two performances of holiday music in the Senior Center.
Street performers in vintage outfits will entertain throughout the day. They will be dressed as characters from Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.”
Old Fashioned Christmas is funded, in part, by an appropriation from the Minnesota State Legislature through a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board, with money from the State’s general fund.