Oskaloosa Kicks Off The Holiday Celebration

The William Penn Band's 'Snow Globe' float got a lot of attention on Thursday evening during the annual Lighted Christmas Parade.

The William Penn Band’s ‘Snow Globe’ float got a lot of attention on Thursday evening during the annual Lighted Christmas Parade.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – The 31st Annual Lighted Christmas Parade made its way through downtown Oskaloosa on Thursday evening.

The theme for this year’s parade was “Sights and Sounds of Christmas”, and the sounds of the season could be found Thursday afternoon inside Penn Central Mall, as the Backrow Hooligans started off the celebration with their performance. They were followed up by the Oskaloosa Jazz Band and then the Rozenboom Trio. The Living Water Quartet finished up the live music with their performance beginning at 6 pm.

Also inside Penn Central Mall was a Holiday Market with many different vendors on hand. There were also many family activities taking place, thanks to Mahaska Drug.

The Alley was celebrating Christmas with mulled wine and apple cider, as a Christmas tree designed by Tara Rozenboom was lit at 5:30 pm.

Over at the American Legion, visitors stopped in for soup, and a warm space to wait for the parade.

The parade was all set to begin at 7 pm, with dozens of entries entered from businesses of all different sizes, and joined by civic groups and bands.

Back inside the mall after the parade, the Festival of Trees was coming to an end, as the final bids for the trees were being placed.

Santa and his reindeer made their appearance in the mall after the parade as well. The crowd was entertained with live jazz performed by Rusty Johnson and friends, sponsored by Bank Iowa.

On Saturday, Mother Nature was still playing her tricks, and the rain kept coming down. The call was made to move the festivities from the square to inside Penn Central Mall.

Santa and his reindeer made their appearance, along with many other Christmas characters, courtesy of Mahaska Drug.

An ice sculptor made three creations from large blocks of ice, which were still visible on the square Sunday afternoon.

Inside of Smokey Row, holiday jazz helped to put people in the holiday spirit. Food was available at Smokey Row, or inside Penn Central Mall courtesy of WanderLunch.

Main Street Lighted Christmas parade awards were presented at Merry Little Downtown Christmas Saturday evening. From over 60 entries, these are the BEST! All received certificates, and many received trophies. Some even won OskyCash.

Winners are as follows:

1st place winners:

“Judges Choice” – 1st Assembly of God

“Children’s Choice” – Oskaloosa Fire Dept. & Santa

Most Outstanding Large Business – MUSCO

Most Outstanding Medium Business – Mahaska Drug

Most Outstanding Small Business – Gatton Realty

Most Outstanding Church – Gateway Church of the Nazarene

Most Outstanding Non-Profit – Oskaloosa Scouts

Most Outstanding Use of Animals – Diamonds & Dust Equestrian Drill Team

Most Outstanding Out of Town – Partnership Machine Inc.

Most Outstanding Music – William Penn University Athletic Bands

2nd Place Winners:

Outstanding Large Business – Clow Valve

Outstanding Medium Business – Binns & Stevens

Outstanding Small Business – Community 1st Credit Union

Outstanding Church – Central Reformed Church

Outstanding Non-Profit – Oskaloosa Middle School

Outstanding Use of Animals – Animal Health Center of Oskaloosa

Outstanding Out of Town – Charles Van Zante

Outstanding Music – Oskaloosa High School Band

1st Place Window Display – Crouse’s House of Flowers

Home Decorating Contest:

Judge’s Choice – Alvern & Jane Boetsma, 1201 Arbor Trace

Most Original – William Young, 401 South 1st

Best Use of Color – Ben & Mindy Hoskinson, 2166 Forrest

Best Use of Lights – Karen Powell, 1226 North Market

Festival of Trees Winners:

People’s Choice – Mahaska Drug

3rd Place Overall – New Hope Community Center

2nd Place Overall – Musco Control Link

1st Place Overall – Bank Iowa

Oskaloosa Chamber Director Ann Smith said she believed the turnout for the parade was good, even though the weather put a bit of a damper on things. “We had over 70 floats, and I thought it was beautiful and the community seemed to enjoy it.”

“It’s fulfilling to see the community, business people, working together to make activities and fun things for families to go to and have these experiences right here in Oskaloosa instead of having to travel someplace else to do it,” added Smith.

Looking back at the year 2018, Smith says that “I think 2018 has been a good year. It’s been my first full year. Emily is going into her year and a half. I think it was just a great collaboration within all the new directors within the chamber office.”

Looking forward to what the Oskaloosa Chamber office has in store for 2019 is workforce development, helping prepare students to join the workforce, housing, business retention, and growing the downtown, and the community. “We’re just excited about 2019”, added Smith.

Emma Rae Rodriguez wrote on our Facebook Page, “We loved it! The time and effort spent to make all of those beautiful floats/costumes etc. was worth it. Holidays are about traditions, and this is a great one.”

Dawn Deffenbaugh wrote, “I love our Lighted Christmas Parade, and think the square is decorated so nicely.”

Penn Central Mall Manager Mike Gipple was happy to welcome the downtown festivities into the climate controlled public space. “We were happy with the crowd, and we were happy that the community thought of us as the host location for the rain location.”

Gipple thanked the merchants of the mall with many of them extending their hours on short notice.

Something not always found indoors was Santa’s reindeer, and someone making ice sculptures. “Never thought I would see that before,” added Gipple.

Penn Central Mall has become the go-to place for community events, rain or shine, and Gipple says it’s a team effort “to make that happen. We’re very fortunate that its merchants are very generous in allowing us to use the common space for the community’s enjoyment.”

Gipple along with Jane Nicholson from Mahaska Drug was prepared to move the festivities indoors after seeing the weather forecast. Plan B scenarios were already in the works, helping to make the transition from the square to the mall easier.

Discussions about next year’s parade and events will be starting very soon, with an announcement of the theme coming in the following months.

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Posted by on Dec 3 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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