By Cindy Hadish/for City Revealed
Czech Village and New Bohemia businesses and organizations offer plenty to do in Cedar Rapids this holiday season. In addition to shopping, dining, live music and other entertainment happening regularly in the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District, several special events are planned to put people in a holiday mood during “Deck the District.”
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Deck the District is a collaborative community holiday celebration that begins Nov. 26, on Small Business Saturday, kicking off with Main Street’s “Window Wonderland.”
From Nov. 26 through Dec. 18, visitors are encouraged to cast votes for their favorite window displays at participating businesses that will be decked out for the holidays during the competition.
“This event takes the magic of the holiday season and creates lasting memories,” said Main Street Executive Director Jennifer Pruden. “Window Wonderland promotes a sense of community during the holiday season. This event is a great partnership with business owners, with the goal to create a place where visitors come to celebrate our vibrant district and support the local economy.”
Svatý Mikuláš is the Czech version of St. Nicholas, with longtime traditions that continue in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In Czech Village, those customs will be celebrated beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at the Artisan’s Sanctuary, 45 16th Ave. SW.
Svatý Mikuláš (St. Nicholas,) Anděl (an angel) and Čert (the devil) will greet children, followed by a short presentation on the Czech and Slovak traditions of Christmas. The custom is traditionally celebrated with the trio walking through the streets and handing out candy to children who have been good, and rotten potatoes or coal to those who have been bad.
Other activities in the works that night include a performance by the Czech Heritage Singers, cocoa and cookies, a candle-lit walk to the Kosek Bandstand in Czech Village and a tree-lighting ceremony at the bandstand. Members of the Czech Heritage Foundation’s Royal Court will greet visitors in their kroje (Czech folk costumes.)
Svatý Mikuláš has been recognized in Czech Village for more than 25 years, with renewed efforts in recent years to mark the custom along with the Czech Village Association’s tree-lighting ceremony.
Very Cherry Holiday
The historic Cherry Building, 329 10th Ave. SE, continues its longtime tradition of a building-wide open house and studio tour during the Very Cherry Holiday. This year’s event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. Visitors are welcome to access the building from the Eleventh Avenue entrance, on the North side of the NewBo City Market. The wheelchair accessible ramp is at the Eleventh Avenue entrance.
Since 2000, the Very Cherry Holiday has been a tradition in which the artists and entrepreneurs in the Cherry Building showcase their works and invite the public to visit their working spaces. This year, a Very Cherry Art Show will be featured on the first floor, with the Five Season Jazz Trio on-hand to perform holiday music. The Ceramics Center will have a walk-in workshop, where the public is welcome to try their hand at making ceramics and/or fused-glass artworks. The Friends of the Library will have a book sale in the basement.
Visitors are invited to tour the building and stop in at the galleries, artist studios and creative businesses that operate in the historic building. Demonstrations, conversation with the artists and owners, snacks, and the opportunity to purchase unique gifts are all a part of the event. The building was constructed in 1919 as a dairy equipment manufacturing plant and is open during business hours year-round.
African American Museum Celebrates Kwanzaa
Discover African American holiday traditions or dive into the evolution of African American literature in the feature exhibit, Mightier than the Sword, when the African American Museum Celebrates Kwanzaa.
The celebration, at the African American Museum of Iowa, 55 12th Ave. SE, will be 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and will feature a display of black Santas in the lobby.
Old World Christmas Market
The Old World Christmas Market returns to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library, 1400 Inspiration Place SW, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.
This year marks the seventh season for the event, which includes live music, dance performances and free family activities. Visitors can shop for specialty imports and handmade gifts by select artisans. The Museum Guild’s 18th Annual Cookie Walk on Dec. 3 offers a great opportunity to stock up on holiday treats.
Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company, Darrin Crow and Světlušky are scheduled to perform and the Czech Heritage Foundation will offer chances to win a wide variety of holiday wreaths; a fundraiser to support the group’s youth programs.
Admission to museum exhibition galleries will be free on both days and The Museum Store will feature 25 percent off all jewelry, excluding garnets and moldavite.
Holiday Happenings at NewBo City Market
The NewBo City Market, 1100 Third St. SE, will be decked out for the holidays with a packed calendar of family-friendly events, including holiday markets every weekend from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
On Friday, Dec. 2, grab some popcorn and catch a family-friendly holiday movie at the market. The holiday market on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will feature a special appearance by Jolly Old St. Nick, followed by another holiday market from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. On Sunday, Dec. 4, from 1-3 p.m. enjoy music by Washington High School’s strings ensemble at the NewBo Cafe.
Take a horse-drawn wagon ride through Czech Village, Sat., Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. A shuttle also will be available that day for both sides of the district.
Park once and enjoy activities on both sides of the river, with trolley rides running 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4.
Find more information at: www.deckthedistrict.org
Read about other local events, attractions and more in City Revealed magazine.