The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Christmas comes to Central Park

Downtown Grinnell will host many holiday-themed events for the annual Jingle Bell Holiday. New this year will be the decorations in Central Park. Contributed photo.

As the holiday season approaches, the Chamber of Commerce is refashioning Central Park with engaging decorations meant to make the park a delightful winter attraction, just in time for Jingle Bell Holiday. The event is free and open to the public and will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today.

“We held a couple of meetings back in August inviting community members to come and join us and really start to brainstorm what something might look like. We’ve been meeting as a group of volunteers and starting to pull together some of the details in Central Park,” said Rachael Kinnick, director of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce and one of the organizers of the decorations.

Historically, the park has not been the center of the city’s annual holiday celebrations. The effort to redecorate the park this year marks a shift in focus to Central Park as the hub for festivals. Kinnick hopes that the overhaul this year will open up the opportunity for community members to enjoy and be engaged in organizing bigger and better celebrations in the future. The organizers wanted Central Park to be a space that residents and visitors to Grinnell could enjoy all year long.

“One of the things with parks in Iowa is that they’re really well-used from about March to October, when the weather is nice, so this is really an opportunity for us to get people back in that space in the less desirable weather and condition,” Kinnick said.

The new decorations divide the park into seven zones.

“You’ll see different lighted displays. We’ll have a candy cane village area with different candy canes and different photo ops. We’ll have the gazebo decorated [with a] traditional Christmas theme. We’ve got a North Pole area. The shelter house will be hosting Santa the four Saturdays in December,” Kinnick said.

Apart from Central Park, other parts of the city are also getting new decorations. Most notably, the nearly 30-year-old wreaths on the light poles that are usually seen downtown in the winter will be replaced with new banners and lighted snowflakes.

“Those are kind of two separate projects; they just happen to be taking place at the same time,” Kinnick said. “It’s meant to bring people downtown just to enjoy the space here.”

With about 155 light poles in the downtown area, the project is currently in the fundraising stages to fund displays for about 125 of those pole decorations.

The organizers plan to debut the new layout and decorations of Central Park at the annual Jingle Bell Holiday event on Friday, Nov. 16. This year’s celebration features more than 30 shops, activities and performances for the community to enjoy as the cold settles in. Highlights include a meet-and-greet with Santa at 5:00 p.m., the Tree Lighting in Central Park at 5:15 p.m. and the Grinnell Children’s Choir’s performance 5:30 p.m. The Grinnell Farmer’s Market is also making a return at the event, with various local crafts and baked goods vendors at the former St. Mary’s Education Center on Broad Street. And new this year at Jingle Bell Holiday is Handmade for the Holidays, a pop-up store south of Bikes to You that will feature handmade crafts.

Downtown Grinnell will host many holiday-themed events for the annual Jingle Bell Holiday this Friday. New this year will be the decorations in Central Park. Contributed photo.
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *