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Grinnell’s Jingle Bell Holiday celebration resumes

After taking a year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, Grinnell continues its tradition of an annual Jingle Bell Holiday celebration downtown. Graphic by Hannah Agpoon.

Grinnell residents looking to get ahead on holiday shopping just need to wander downtown this Friday evening. The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce is holding the Jingle Bell Holiday, Grinnell’s annual holiday shopping kick-off event, this Friday, Nov. 19 from 5-8 p.m. The event features holiday open-houses and promotions from various local businesses as well as fun seasonal activities like a holiday light walk in Central Park, a visit from Santa and carriage rides. The annual Grinnell Winter Farmers Market will also be taking place at Hotel Grinnell.

This year’s festivities will be an extra-special celebration of this Grinnell tradition, as the annual holiday event will return to an in-person format after the locked-down first winter of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The event is traditionally held the Friday before Thanksgiving, and every year we just try to add a few more activities, or kind of change things up a little bit. Although, to be honest, in 2021, just having the event again is great because we weren’t able to do that at all last year,” said Rachel Kinnick, president and CEO of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the Jingle Bell Holiday event.

The Jingle Bell Holiday event is a yearly tradition in town. “Several retailers many, many years ago, brought it up to the Chamber as an opportunity to showcase Grinnell area businesses and it’s been happening for years and years,” said Kinnick. This mainstay in Grinnell’s calendar will help promote local businesses, many of which will be holding special open-house events this Friday. Businesses will be offering special discounts, holiday activities like Letters to Santa, ornament-making, and photo booths, as well as holiday treats like hot chocolate, candy canes, and holiday-themed cocktails.

The Jingle Bell Holiday event will also feature the Winter Farmers Market on Friday, Nov. 19, 5-8 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 20, 8 a.m.-noon at Hotel Grinnell. Much like the regular Grinnell Farmers Market that runs through the summer and early fall, the winter market will feature most of the regular vendors as well as some special holiday ones. For a full list, check out the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce website.

The Grinnell Arts Council will also be hosting the local artists’ market. The market will feature works for sale by local artists – everything from jewelry to paintings to upcycled dolls.

“At the Grinnell Arts Council, our mission is to encourage and support expression in the community, and so the artists’ market is one way that we can amplify local artists,” said Monica St. Angelo, operations manager at the Grinnell Arts Council. “Some folks do have their own websites and things like that, but the majority don’t, and this is an opportunity for them to show their work and sell their work.”

The Arts Center is located at 926 Broad St. The Stew Makerspace, at 927 Broad St., will also be open from 5-8 p.m. on Friday for people to stop in and learn more about the space. At the Stew, customers are welcome to browse homemade ceramic creations, as the annual Empty Bowls fundraiser for Mid-Iowa Community Action is set to continue as well.

At the Grinnell Arts Council, our mission is to encourage and support expression in the community, and so the artists’ market is one way that we can amplify local artists. -Monica St. Angelo, operations manager at the Grinnell Arts Council.

Friday’s events will also feature performances from Michelle’s Dance Academy and the Grinnell Children’s Choir, a welcome address from Mayor Dan Agnew and the inaugural lighting in Central Park.

“[Jingle Bell Holiday] is a great way to support local producers, local artists, local markets and have those dollars support local individuals,” said Kinnick. One of the requirements for vendors at the farmers market is that all items must be produced in some capacity by the vendors themselves. “So, lots of really unique and creative, handmade gift ideas that you won’t find anywhere else,” as Kinnick describes it.

For more information on the event, head to the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce website.

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    Nina BakerNov 19, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    This graphic is so adorable 🙂