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Christmas-themed weekend begins Friday, Dec. 4
Nov. 30, 2015

By Gabe Licht

DELANO, MN – Delano-area residents will kick off the Christmas season with the Christmas tree lighting and Christmas with the King concert Friday and Old-Fashioned Christmas Saturday.

The Christmas tree lighting will take place at 7 p.m. Friday in Delano’s riverfront area (intersection of Bridge Avenue and River Street). A new tree will highlight the event, showcasing the newly-reconstructed riverfront.

The Delano Area Chamber of Commerce’s Business Development Committee coordinates the event, which is celebrating its ninth year of kicking off the Christmas season in Delano. The event began as a way to bring the community together while promoting the downtown and what it has to offer, and the idea of a tree-lighting ceremony stems from what several larger cities have done.

In 2008, Flower Farm by Otten Brothers donated a large, “permanent Christmas tree” that had been used for the lighting ceremony at River’s Edge Park in downtown Delano. That tree has been removed as part of the floodwall and riverfront project, and two large trees have been planted in the area by the city of Delano.

This year’s event will feature the ceremonial tree lighting, the arrival of Santa Claus in Delano, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more. Sponsors of the horse-drawn carriage rides this year are Matter Reuter CPAs, and one of the DACC’s newest members, Midwest Dental of Maple Plain.

“This year, the horse-drawn carriage will make stops at Lupine Brewing Co., South Fork Brewing Co., and Bonde Bistro, upon request,” said DACC Executive Director Ryan Gueningsman.

New in 2016 will be an ugly sweater contest, so individuals are encouraged to dress to impress. Warm beverages, coordinated by Lupine Brewing Co., will also be available. The Delano Royalty Organization will be on-hand to meet and greet people. Pastor Paul Risdall, of WestPointe Church, and Delano Mayor Dale Graunke will both share a few words leading up to the lighting of the tree.

Those attending are asked to bring a new or gently-used clean blanket or coat for Love INC-Heartland. Collection boxes for gently-used clean blankets and coats are at the following businesses for drop-off prior to the event: Brandt Companies, Sil-Pro, Landscape Structures, Arctic Fox, Industrial Louvers, Solar Plastics, Randy’s Environmental Services, Minnesota Lakes Bank, Art-o-Graph, and Modern Molding.

“The DACC always appreciates the support for Love INC-Heartland at this event, as we have had truckloads of coats and blankets that have been delivered to Love INC-Heartland in past years,” Gueningsman said. “We hope to surpass our expectations this year, and really encourage people to drop off coats or blankets at our collection points if unable to attend the actual tree lighting.”

For more information on the Delano Christmas Tree lighting, visit www.delanochamber.com and “like” the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce on Facebook for more real-time updates.

A new event, the Christmas with the King concert, will follow the Christmas tree lighting at 7:30 p.m. at Delano American Legion.

The concert will feature Elvis tribute artist Anthony Shore and the TCB Apprentices.

Tickets were nearly sold out as of press time. Any remaining tickets could be purchased by following the link on the DACC website.

Sponsors for the event include Frontier Communications, the Schaust Team, LabelogixSupply Company, Minnesota Lakes Bank, Crow River Guitar and Sound, Calbrandt/Brandt Companies, Crow River Dental, Delano Printing, Delano Herald Journal, State Bank of Delano, Harwood’s Body Shop, AW Smith, LLC, Bryce Deter-State Farm, and COPO Computers.

Concertgoers can also show their ticket stub to get specials at the following businesses: El Molcajete, Dave’s Town Club, B’s on the River, South Fork Brewing Company, Unhinged! Pizza, Bonde Bistro, and Delano GrandStay Hotel and Suites.

After Santa Claus arrives in Delano for the tree lighting Friday night, he’ll stay for the entire weekend, including Old-Fashioned Christmas beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday morning in downtown Delano.

The Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture event Saturday offers art, shopping, music, food, and family fun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Area artists’ work will be on display in downtown businesses, music will be heard throughout the downtown, and children will be able to participate in a variety of activities.

New this year, ethnic holiday treats will be available. Delano families will be selling tastes of their traditional Christmas foods. Some of the heritage treats will be from Norway, Denmark, Poland, Scotland, Canada, Australia/New Zealand and Mexico. Traditional treats baked by Delano area seniors will be for sale at the Senior Center.

Among the artists showing and selling their work are Patricia Gilmer Reinert and Tamra Kowalski. Gilmer Reinert began as a landscape painter working in oil. In 2013, she began working in a new medium, creating atmospheric landscapes in an encaustic process. This process uses layers of wax, together with pigment and heat to melt line and color into glimpses of dreamlike patterns.

Tamra Kowalski works in wool and uses it in many new forms. She has a passion for art, and working with fiber is her way to create useful and decorative items in paint and wool. Another fiber artist, Michelle Jerde, uses recycled wool and fleece to make mittens, hats, scarves, pet toys, and dog coats. Jerde owns Metro Mitten Company and donates a percentage of profits to local and nationwide animal shelters and rescues. The work of local jewelry artist Sarah Flicek, along with Jerde’s creations, will be at Vintage on Bridge.

New to the Art Walk is Pat Thielman, who creates handmade glass beads, precious metal wirework, and enameled objects. Chris Brazelton’s art uses acrylic and mixed media to express her designs, which have a children’s focus. Jean Loebrick will exhibit metal sculpture, and Janet Klein creates personalized jewelry. The Artists Guild, with the work of a variety of local artists, will also be exhibiting. Their work includes paintings in oil, watercolor and objects in other mediums.

A related event sponsored by the Arts Council is the Holiday Home Tour. Visitors can tour four area homes decorated for Christmas from 1 to 5 p.m. There is still time to gather ideas to decorate homes for the season. Tickets are now available for pre-sale at the Delano Senior Center and Delano Wine and Spirits for $10. Tickets will also be sold Saturday at the information desk in Delano City Hall for $15. Tickets include locations of the four homes. Tickets will not be sold at the homes on the tour. Proceeds from the tour will support arts and cultural projects in Delano.

Schedules of all activities, maps of downtown and tickets for the Home Tour will be available at the information desk in City Hall, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday.

This activity is made possible in part, by a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board with funds appropriated by the Minnesota State Legislature from its general fund.

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