Here is a sample of the holiday happenings in the Elk River area.
Thursday, Nov. 29:
• Guardian Angels+Elim Hospice Memorial Tree Lighting, 7 p.m. at the Elk River Dining Site, 350 Evans Ave., Elk River. To purchase a bulb(s) in memory of a loved one, call 763-552-2160.
Saturday, Dec. 1:
• Celebrate the Season in Zimmerman. A wide variety of events including horse-drawn wagon rides (11 a.m.–3 p.m.), word scramble/scavenger hunt with a $200 cash prize (11 a.m.–3 p.m.), tree-lighting ceremony, bonfire and Santa on a fire truck (4:30 p.m.) and a holiday boutique at Nelson Nursery (10 a.m.–4 p.m.)
• “Light It Up, Elk River” begins at 4:30 p.m. at River’s Edge Commons Park in downtown Elk River. There will be a tree-lighting ceremony, a choir will perform and Mayor John Dietz will speak and light the tree. There also will be information about Elk River Municipal Utilities’ Holiday Lighting Contest and an opportunity to drop off unwrapped toys or make a monetary donation for Gifts Anonymous. Hot beverages and cookies will be served. The event is sponsored by Downtown Elk River Rivers Edge Business Association
• December Grief: Holding back tears while others celebrate? Holy Trinity Episcopal Church will offer a time to reflect, share, pray and recover balance when a loved one is missing. It will be led by Guardian Angels chaplain the Rev. Margaret Quill, and experienced grief counselors Betty Zehringer and Mary Dare. The event runs from 9:30 a.m.–1 p.m. at the church, 1326 Fourth St., Elk River. A light lunch will be provided. To reserve a place, call 763-441-1213 or 763-241-4426. It is sponsored by Guardian Angels Senior Services.
• Toy Making Workshop, 1–3 p.m. at the historic Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River. Guests of all ages will choose between making several 19th-century toys, including a ball-and-cup game, buzz saws, pick-up sticks and corn husk dolls. All tools and materials will be provided. Fee is $5, or $4 for Minnesota Historical Society members. Reservations required, call 763-441-6896.
• A Night in Bethlehem. A family-friendly interactive experience. Travel back to ancient Bethlehem and taste, see and smell what daily life was like when Jesus was born. There will be shops and activities for all ages. The event will run from 4–7 p.m. at Central Lutheran Church, 1103 School St., Elk River. For more information, contact Kirsten Gill at 763-441-2363.
Sunday, Dec. 2:
• Elk River Lions Breakfast with Santa, 8 a.m.–1 p.m. at Lions Park Center, 1104 Lions Park Dr., Elk River. Menu includes pancakes, sausage and beverages. Free-will donation.
• Zimmerman Lions Breakfast with Santa, 8:30 a.m.-noon at the Zimmerman Lions Civic Building (at the ballpark). Free will offering. All proceeds will go to the Zimmerman Food Shelf.
Tuesday–Thursday, Dec. 4–6:
• Bring your cameras and have your picture taken with the Meadowvale Santa Claus. The Meadowvale PTO is sponsoring “Pictures with Santa” in the school atrium, in front of the main office, from 6–7:30 p.m. Tuesday–Thursday, Dec. 4, 5 and 6.
A $2 donation suggested. The event is open to the public. Pets are welcome. Meadowvale Elementary is located at 12701 Elk Lake Rd.
Friday, Dec. 7:
• Spectrum High School’s Choral Fine Arts, 7 p.m. at the school, 17796 Industrial Circle, Elk River.
• Candlelight and Christmas Tea, 6:30 p.m. at Central Lutheran Church, 1103 School St., Elk River. Enjoy tea and dessert and learn how the Christmas tree can reveal lessons of life and love, and can represent the true spirit of the season. Tickets are $10 and available at Central Lutheran. Ticket deadline is Dec. 4.
• The Land of Lakes Choirboys’ “Christmas with the Choirboys,” 7 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, 566 Fourth St., Elk River. Free-will offering. Bake sale at 5:30 p.m.
• The Shepherds Inn Daycare & Friends Christmas Musical Gala, 7 p.m. at Solid Rock Church, located behind Aldi in Elk River. The public is welcome.
• First Grade Winter Festival Concerts, 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Zimmerman Elementary.
• Frost “Free” Friday Movie at Otsego Prairie Center, 8899 Nashua Ave. at 7 p.m. The Dec. 7 showing will be “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”
Saturday, Dec. 8:
• Santa Day in Otsego. Santa Claus is coming to town from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. at Prairie Center, 8899 Nashua Ave. This annual event hosted by the Parks and Recreation Commission is in its 10th year. Activities include children visiting with Santa Claus, cookies and hot chocolate, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Quality Photo will also be present to take pictures of children with Santa for purchase, or people may bring a camera and take their own. People attending are also encouraged to bring food for donation to the CAER food shelf.
• The Zimmerman Legion Auxiliary along with the Zimmerman-Livonia Fire Department will collect toys and monetary donations at their annual Stop & Drop collection noon–3 p.m. All donations go towards families in need in Zimmerman.
Look for the fire truck in front of the American Legion in Zimmerman. Auxiliary volunteers will be outside to accept donations. Call 763-856-2131 for more information.
• “Surviving the Holidays” is designed to offer encouragement and hope for those dealing with grief during the holidays. This event will run from 9 a.m.–noon in room 218/219 at Central Lutheran Church, 1103 School St., Elk River. Call 763-441-2363, ext. 230 to register in advance.
Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 8–9:
• Christmas on the Farm at the historic Oliver Kelley Farm in Elk River. Join a guide for a 75-minute tour of the historic farmhouse, livestock pens and along the nature trail. Discover how farm families and their animals coped with shorter days, colder temperatures and the upcoming holidays 150 years ago. Enjoy a horse or oxen-drawn bobsled or wagon ride. Dress for outdoor weather. Warm refreshments follow in the Visitors Center. Event begins at 2 p.m. each day, Dec. 8 and 9. Fee: $8 or $7 for Minnesota Historical Society members; free for children age 5 and under. Reservations required, call 763-441-6896.
Sunday, Dec. 9:
• The North Star Boys’ Choir presents “A Choirboy Christmas,” an all choirs Christmas concert at 3 p.m. at Word of Peace Lutheran Church, 21705 129th Ave. N, Rogers. Free-will offering.
Monday, Dec. 10:
• Rogers High School Music Department presents “The Holidays In Song” at 6:30 p.m. in the Rogers High School commons, 21000 141st Ave., Rogers. This seasonal concert event will feature the Rogers High School instrumental and vocal ensembles.
Tuesday, Dec. 11:
• The Asante Children’s Choir will perform at Otsego Elementary School at 9:45 a.m. The school is located at 8125 N.E. River Road, Otsego.
Thursday, Dec. 13:
• VandenBerge Middle School Winter Band Concert at 7 p.m. in the school’s large gym, 948 Proctor Road, Elk River. The concert is free and open to the public.
Friday, Dec. 14:
• Spectrum High School’s Band Fine Arts, 7 p.m. at the school, 17796 Industrial Circle, Elk River. Refreshments will follow.
Saturday, Dec. 15:
• Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at River’s Edge Commons Park in downtown Elk River from noon–3 p.m. Accompanying them will be baby animals including two reindeer, a camel, a bighorn sheep and a whitetail deer. Santa will be passing out gift bags to children, toy soldiers will be dancing and Santa’s mailbox will be ready to receive mail from children. Businesses will have special offers and provide treats. Food and donations will be collected for the Elk River-based CAER food shelf, and people making donations will get their names on the ribbons that go around the tree.
• Elk River Area Arts Alliance Holiday Art and Gift Show and Sale runs from Nov. 7–Dec. 26; an artist reception is from 1–4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15 at the Arts Alliance, 312 Jackson Ave., Elk River. Regular gallery hours are Wednesday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
• Christmas Renaissance Festival featuring two stages of continuous entertainment, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club, 905 6th St., Elk River. Watch www.commandperformancemn.org and the Star News for more information as the date nears.
• Christmas Bird Count, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge near Zimmerman. To help count birds, contact the refuge at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the refuge office 763-389-3323, ext. 13.
• North Ballet Youth Company will have two performances of “The Nutcracker” at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. at Zabee Theater in the Elk River High School, 900 School St. Local youth and adults will partner with professionals from Ballet West in Utah in “The Nutcracker” ballet. Tickets can be purchased online at www.northballetyouthcompany.org. Prices start at $10.
Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-16:
• St. John Lutheran Church live nativity scene, 6 to 8 p.m., Dec. 15 and 16, behind the church. This will be a large-scale production of a re-creation of the Christmas story. The event is free and open to everyone. There will be bon fires, free apple cider, coffee and hot chocolate. There will also be lentil soup and flatbread.
• SOAR Regional Arts Holiday Concert, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 2 p.m. Dec. 16 at St. Michael Catholic School Stage, St. Michael. Featuring students from Otsego, Rogers, Albertville and St. Michael school districts along with special guests: Jamie Cassidy, Terrell Beaudry, Kristen Rokke, Ellen Beaudry and Debra Bishop. Tickets are all $10 and available at Coborn’s in Albertville and Marketplace in St. Michael. Visit www.soararts.com for more information about the concert, a silent auction and to buy tickets online.
Sunday, Dec. 16:
• Elk River Figure Skating Club’s Holiday Spectacular at 2:30 p.m., followed by Skate with Santa from 3:45–5:15 p.m. at the Elk River Arena, 1000 School St. The event is free but food donations will be accepted for the CAER food shelf.
Wednesday Dec. 19:
• Join Zimmerman Elementary students as they sing holiday classics around Zimmerman. All times are approximate. 9:30 a.m. Fremont House Corner; 10:30 a.m. Zimmerman Firehouse; 11:55 a.m. Pine Cone Manor (Guardian Angels); 1 p.m. Orange Caterpillar, Total Image Spa, Paws Up 4 U parking lot; 2 p.m. Jim’s Market.
Thursday, Dec. 20:
• Elk River High School choral music concert, 7 p.m. at Zabee Auditorium at Elk River High School, 900 School St., Elk River. The concert is free.
Friday, Dec. 21:
• Holiday Sing-along at 9:30 a.m. in the gym at Otsego Elementary School, 8125 N.E. River Road.
• Meadowvale Elementary School’s annual sing-along beginning at 1:45 p.m. in the school’s gym/cafeteria, 12701 Elk Lake Road. The program is open to all family and friends.