The holidays are coming early to Cedar Rapids. Get into the holiday spirit this weekend, and enjoy hot chocolate, shopping, Christmas trees and even a chance to tell Santa Claus all about your wish list (if you’re on the nice list, that is).
There will be a variety of events across New Bo and Czech Village as part of Deck the District, a holiday celebration organized by the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District and other groups in the area. Various businesses in the area will also offer discounts. To make travel across the river easier, there will be a free holiday express bus with five stops.
Over at Greene Square Park, the City of Cedar Rapids is hosting holiday events on Saturday, Dec. 7, including the lighting of the city tree.
Friday, Dec. 6
Deck the District kicks off with the Svaty Mikulas Celebration. The free event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Kosek Building, 83 16th Ave. SW. There will be sweet treats and a presentation on Svaty Mikulas (St. Nicholas). Following the presentation and visit from Svaty Mikulas, there will be the lighting of the Czech Village Christmas tree.
The Bohemian Betty Holiday Market will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. and again on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The market will be in the old Smuggler’s Wharf building at 95 16th Ave. SW. Admission is $2, but those with a Bohemian Betty shirt or children 10 years old and younger get in for free.
Saturday, Dec. 7
The Old World Christmas Market will be taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. The free event is in its 10th year of making Cedar Rapidians feel like they are walking through a European holiday market. It’s a chance to do some shopping, as well as get some food and enjoy some music. The market will also be open on Sunday.
The Old World Christmas Market isn’t the only special seasonal event happening during those hours. The Cherry Building is hosting a Very Cherry Holiday. It’s a chance to tour the historic building and the artist studios inside it. There will be music from the Four Seasons and a visit from Santa Claus, who seems to be spending his whole weekend in Cedar Rapids.
The lighting of the Cedar Rapids Christmas tree at Greene Square Park will take place at 5:30 p.m. The 35-food Colorado blue spruce was donated by the Jenay Sullivan family. Prior to the lighting, there will be family-friendly events from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., including crafts, scavenger hunts, storytelling and caroling.
Sunday, Dec. 8
If you missed spotting Santa Claus throughout the weekend, no worries. He’ll be at NewBo City Market from noon to 4 p.m.
A full list of Deck the District events and promotions is available online.