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Welcome Santa to town this Christmas in Jefferson, surrounding counties

Jefferson County and surrounding counties will offer residents a plethora of holiday-themed events to attend from late November through Christmas this year.

Holiday Lighting Ceremony

See the Fairfield town square come to life! The Annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony will be held on Friday, Nov. 25, 2022 at Central Park in Fairfield. To kick off the illumination and subsequently the holiday season, the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce organizes this festive tradition with the lights being turned on at 6 p.m.

The Fairfield High School Choir will set the mood by singing Holiday music at 5:30 p.m. The Chamber Christmas Committee chooses one citizen, who best exemplifies the holiday spirit, and presents them with the opportunity to throw the switch to turn on the lights for the season. This citizen will be announced at 5:55 p.m. so the lights can be turned on at 6 p.m. sharp. After arriving to town as the lights come on, Santa can be found in the Santa House listening to the children share their hopes for the holiday season. There also will be horse drawn wagon rides around the square for the kids. Free hot cocoa and cookies will be handed out at the Santa House. An evening not to be missed!

Festival of Trees

On Nov. 25 and 26, the Festival of Trees at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center is a must-see event where you can see, feel, and smell the holiday season. There are Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes. Bid on spectacular holiday trees and wreaths created by local designers and community groups. All proceeds will benefit the Little Superheroes Foundation.

Birmingham Lions Soup Supper

On Nov. 26, enjoy various soups, desserts, and drinks at the Birmingham Lions Soup Supper. Take a free horse-drawn wagon ride and see the holiday lights around town! Hosted at 110 North Cross St. starting at 5 p.m.

All is Calm

On Nov. 29, the arts center will host “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.” Set on the Western Front of World War I, out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace. Based on a true story. Show will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

Shop & Be Merry

On Dec. 2-3, join Fairfield shops for festive sales and events. From gifts for home, grandmas, babies, and even those hard to buy for people in your life, Fairfield shops are ready to help make this holiday one of your best!

Fairfield First Fridays Art Walk

On Dec. 2, celebrate Fairfield First Fridays Art Walk on the Fairfield square with carriage rides, carolers and all the lights and sounds of the season. Begins at 6 p.m.

Festival of Trees in Van Buren

See dozens of beautifully decorated trees, wreaths, and tabletop trees based on the theme "Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree" on display at the Roberts Memorial Center in Keosauqua. Sponsored by the Lions Clubs of Van Buren County, the trees will be purchased through a silent auction taking place throughout the weekend. There also will be several items for cash and carry. A variety of live music and refreshments will be served throughout the weekend. Proceeds from the weekend will benefit Christmas for Kids.

Times: Dec. 2, 5-8 p.m.; Dec. 3, 9 a.m. — 8 p.m.; Dec. 4, 12-3 p.m.

Holidays At Hotel Manning

Join First Iowa State Bank and the Villages Folk School at the beautiful Hotel Manning in Keosauqua. Students will be singing carols and art will be on display. Say "hello" to Mr. & Mrs. Clause and grab a to-go gift bag of art and treats.

Time: Dec. 2, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Polar Express Movie

Make holiday memories by watching the full-length movie "Polar Express" at this historic venue where the acoustics are amazing! Hosted by McHaffey Opera House in Eldon. Hot chocolate and goodies served after the movie at the Eldon Rocket Room Model Railroad.

Time: Dec. 2, 7 p.m.

Christmas at the Barns

On Dec. 3, celebrate Christmas at the Barns at Fairfield’s historic Maasdam Barns. Join in for some vintage holiday fun including wagon rides, St. Nicholas photos, kid's crafts, and more! Great family-friendly event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Gingerbread “House” Party

The American Gothic House in Eldon will host this Gingerbread “House” Party from 2-4 p.m. Dec. 3.

Santa & Mrs. Claus visit Bonaparte

Santa & Mrs. Claus will read stories to children and enjoy cookies and hot cocoa. Each child who attends will receive a goodie bag! Held at the former school building in Bonaparte.

Time: Dec. 3, 1-3 p.m.

A Bentonsport Country Christmas

Celebrate the spirit of Christmas past! Shopkeepers will dress in period clothing and delight in helping with gift ideas. Enjoy treats and a chance to win a door prize! Drawing at 4:30 p.m. Need not be present to win. Hosted by Bentonsport Artisan Gallery at 21986 Hawk Dr.

Time: Dec. 3, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Pioneer Museum Open House and Home Driving Tour in Farmington

Visit the Pioneer Museum, and listen to Christmas music provided by ukulele players and singers. Be sure to get a map with a listing of historical homes in Farmington to take off on a self-guided tour of these "pioneer homes." Located at 205 South Fourth St., next to Casey's. Prize drawing on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. for those who have visited over the weekend.

Times: Dec. 3, Noon-4 p.m.; Dec. 4, 1-4 p.m.; Dec. 10, Noon-4 p.m.; Dec. 11, 1-4 p.m.

Douds Community Christmas Singalong

Join this Christmas community singalong with snacks and fellowship with three Douds churches. Hosted at Zion Bible Church, 15198 Hwy 16.

Time: Dec. 4, 6 p.m.

Santa and the Reindeer come to Keosauqua

Head to the Van Buren County Fairgrounds to meet Santa, see the reindeer and share your Christmas wishes! Sponsored by Libertyville Savings Bank and A Better Way to Farm.

Time: Dec. 10, 9-11 a.m.

Stockport Soup Supper with Santa

Enjoy a Soup Supper, Basket Auction and Mr. & Mrs. Santa with goodies for the kids! Hosted at American Legion Hall in Stockport, 112 East Legion St.

Time: Dec. 10, 5-7 p.m.

Mrs. Claus at Hy-Vee

On Dec. 10, bring your letters to Santa and Mrs. Claus to Fairfield Hy-Vee from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and meet Mrs. Claus in person. Enjoy a cookie with her during her visit.

A Very Electric Christmas

On Dec. 15, brighten your holidays with Lightwire Theater’s “A Very Electric Christmas.” Audiences of all ages will treasure this magical and captivating tale of family, friendship and hope set to timeless holiday hits. Starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

Holiday Trade Fair

On Dec. 16-17, visit the Holiday Trade Fair at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. Shop with some of the most talented makers in Southeast Iowa.

Holiday concert

On Dec. 17-18, listen to the sounds of the season at this holiday concert at Golden Magnolia Sanctuary in Fairfield starting at 7:30 p.m.

Christmas with Santa in Bonaparte

Santa will be there to hear the children's wishes and get their photos taken. Every child in attendance also will receive a gift from Santa. Hosted at Bonaparte Opera House, 614 First St.

Time: Dec. 18, 5 p.m.

Cocoa & Caroling in Milton

Bundle up for caroling around town. Return to the church for hot cocoa and fellowship. Hosted by Milton Christian Church, 301 East Oak St.

Time: Dec. 21, 6-8 p.m.

Christmas Eve Parade

Fairfield Rotary holds its Annual Christmas Eve Parade on Dec. 24. In past years, parade participants assembled at the National Guard Armory, where they began their trek around town before finishing in Fairfield’s Central Park. The parade normally includes Santa and Mrs. Claus in the sleigh, their elves, and a team of carolers. After the parade, Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet children in their sleigh, providing them with goodie bags and hearing what they want for Christmas.

Fairfield’s Central Park is always full of people for the Holiday Lighting Ceremony, held the Friday after Thanksgiving. (Andy Hallman/The Union)

Call Andy Hallman at 641-575-0135 or email him at

Fairfield High School alumna of the Class of 2018 Cami Schaefer paints the face of Valerie Kessel during a previous Festival of Trees at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. The event is a fundraiser for Little Superheroes, an organization that helps families with medical emergencies. The organization was started by Christie and Alex Kessel in 2015 after their daughter Valerie had gone through a medical emergency the year before when she was born with a rare condition preventing her intestines from working properly. (Union archive photo)
Residents ride around Fairfield’s Central Park in a carriage during the December 2021 Fairfield First Fridays Art Walk. (Photo submitted)
Nora McCreedy tells Santa and Mrs. Claus what she wants for Christmas when the two visited children in downtown Fairfield in 2021. (Andy Hallman/The Union)
This photo taken from a drone shows Santa’s sleigh, bottom left, and the float carrying the Chamber Singers of Southeast Iowa, bottom right, as they travel around the Fairfield square during the 2021 Fairfield Rotary Christmas Eve Parade. (Photo courtesy of Werner Elmker)