A magical night

Holiday Stroll wowed for its 26th year

The 26th annual Holiday Stroll was held in downtown Marshalltown Saturday afternoon and evening. The T-R sponsored a Santa’s Workshop, wherein Suzanne Hargan, 6, told Santa all she wanted for Christmas.

The 26th annual Holiday Stroll was held in downtown Marshalltown Saturday afternoon and evening. The T-R sponsored a Santa’s Workshop, wherein Suzanne Hargan, 6, told Santa all she wanted for Christmas.

Magic indeed was in the air during the 26th annual Holiday Stroll, held in downtown Marshalltown Saturday afternoon and evening.

“We had such a good crowd,” said Jenny Etter, executive director of the Marshalltown Central Business District, who sponsors this event. “We had lots of kids come, and we couldn’t have pulled this off without all our volunteers.”

The main event kicked off at 5 p.m. with a parade down Main Street, which concluded with Santa lighting the courthouse square. This year’s theme was “Winter Wonderland” and while it didn’t snow, the ice skating rink added a touch of winter charm.

“This was the first year we brought in ice skating and I think we’ll do it again,” Etter said.

Indeed, friends, families, children, and adults young and old enjoyed ice skating, which was offered Friday and Saturday afternoons and today from noon to 6 p.m.

The Tallcorn was the place to be for free, live entertainment put on by local groups including Bobcat Academy, Xtreme Dance, Miller Middle School jazz band and the Marshalltown Men’s Chorus. At the IVCCD Orpheum Theater Center, The Festival of Trees (formerly Tiny Tim Tree Festival), was held inside the Black Box theater. The public had the chance to bid on the trees and cast their vote for their favorite. Upstairs in the theater were a series of kids’ activities styled as a kiddie carnival. The line to get inside this area stretched down the staircase. Later in the evening, the REM Bell Choir performed holiday favorites.

Over at Mayfair Cleaners, the Times-Republican sponsored a Santa’s Workshop where youngsters could make Christmas ornaments, enjoy milk and cookies, and of course, meet Mr. Claus himself, and tell him all the goodies they want as gifts under the tree.

“It’s exceeded our expectations,” said Alushia Fitzgerald, who co-chaired this year’s stroll alongside her mother, Debra Hippler.

A large toy train exhibit was set up for free public viewing at IntelliFarms, and was a favorite stop for children.

Downtown businesses offered extended hours so folks could come in and enjoy free refreshments and browse merchandise.

“We drove traffic into stores, which was great,” Etter said.

Attendees also got to vote for which business had the best window display/decorations.

Food vendors were stationed along Main Street, including the Flying Elbow Food Truck and Dave’s Mini Donuts. UnityPoint served refreshments from the back of an ambulance, and the Salvation Army offered hot chocolate. Horse-drawn carriage rides through the downtown offered a leisurely good time.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at 641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com