Winter Festival tradition returns to Christ Lutheran

Thursday, November 25, 2021
Pictured above, Christ Lutheran Church last held their Winter Festival and Candy Walk on Saturday, December 7, 2019. This year, they will hold the festivities again, but candies and cookies will be pre-order only, and vendors will be more spaced out to accommodate COVID-19 concerns.
(Photo by Megan Sabin)

After canceling the event in 2020, Christ Lutheran is excited to have their Winter Festival and Candy Walk return in 2021, although with a few changes.

Amy Maass, member of Christ Lutheran Church, stated, "Christ Lutheran Church is having their annual Winter Festival and Candy Walk this year. We are changing things up a bit due to the still lingering COVID-19, unfortunately. We are doing preordering of candies and cookies, and carry-out only for lunch. We do have vendors coming in, but we will be able to spread them out more due to having preorders."

The event will be held on Saturday, December 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at Christ Lutheran Church (503 South Washington St.).

(Photo by Megan Sabin)

Vendors having their wares for sale that day include Pampered Chef – Lynn Ruba, Thirty One – Kayla Schroeder, Scentsy – Mary Schwebach, GG’s Past Time – Gina Barns, Krafty Kasper – Amber Kasper, Tupperware – EmmaJean Peterson, Freeman Creations – Lacy Freeman, and Tastefully Simple – Kae Van Engen.

Carry-out lunch will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with choices of Chili or Chicken Noodle Soup and Ham or Egg Salad Sandwiches available. Cost for lunch will be $5.00 per bowl of soup and $2.00 per sandwich.

For the 9th Annual Candy Walk, pre-orders only will be taken this year until Monday, November 29. To order your candy, please call or text Melissa at 712-540-8329 or Amy at 712-540-1452.

Available candies to order at $6.00 per pound (with a six-piece minimum) include Caramels, Peanut Clusters, Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls, and Almond Bark Pretzels. Ice Cream Chocolate Sauce is also available at $12 per quart.

Cookies available for pre-order at $8.00 per dozen include Chocolate Kiss, Thumbprint, and Chocolate Chip. Cut Cookies, non decorated or frosting on the side, are available at $10.00 and $12.00 per dozen.

Also special for this year, all proceeds from the event will be donated to Amber Arens for medical expenses as she heals from her ongoing illness.

Pictured above, Amber Arens with her children, Carson and Kaylee. Proceeds from the Winter Festival and Candy Walk at Christ Lutheran Church this year will be donated to Amber for medical expenses as she heals from her ongoing illness.
(Photo contributed)

Maass explained, "This year we are donating all the proceeds to a fellow church member, Amber Arens. Both of Amber's parents are originally from Remsen; her mom, is LeAnn (Ott), and her dad, is Phil. Amber lives in Le Mars with her two children, Kaylee, and Carson. She is still a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Remsen. She originally started the Candy Walk ten years ago to benefit our youth activities, Sunday school, Kids Quest and LYF. Amber's grandparents, Arnold and Colleen Ott were/are members. Arnold passed away in 2013, and Colleen is still a member of Christ Lutheran. LeAnn had been a member of Christ Lutheran in the past. Amber has spent several weeks in Mayo. Unfortunately, due to her medical condition, she had to leave her job."

Her brother, Tyler Arens, has set up a Go Fund Me account and posted it through Facebook, updating people about Amber's condition. The first post states, "Hi, my name is Tyler Arens, and my sister, Amanda Anderson, and I are creating this fundraiser for our sister, Amber Arens. Amber has been on a challenging journey over the past year. In October 2020, Amber began experiencing unexplained/unintentional weight loss that led to a gallbladder surgery in December 2020. While the gallbladder surgery went well, Amber's health continued to decline as she experienced systemic inflammation creating a culmination of strains to her heart, liver, kidney and abdomen. Her weight loss reached a significant level of malnutrition, forcing the need for a feeding tube after severe deterioration of her body. She has had three extended hospital stays at Sanford in Sioux Falls, S.D., from March to June, with numerous labs, scans, x-rays, and specialists all working to give a diagnosis. In August, with no improvement, she was referred to Mayo for an appointment in October; however, her health rapidly declined, forcing an earlier trip to Mayo’s Emergency Department on September 8. A new team of specialists from every field of expertise were assigned to Amber, involving more labs, scans, x-rays, and another feeding tube. Still, with no definitive diagnosis, she was sent home on September 15 with hopes that she would be on the road to improved health with some adjusted meds and the feeding tube. Unfortunately, she was hit with another decline in health, lung and heart issues, and more weight loss. Amber arrived back at Mayo on September 27 and is still there today with a new set of specialists, another battery of labs, scans, x-rays and ultrasounds. Again, no definitive diagnosis has been determined so her last option is a PET scan on Monday, October 4. The specialists have assured her this will give them the answers she has been looking for and give them direction on where to target treatment. Amber has a strong faith and a fantastic support system. Amazingly, Amber has kept her faith through this long journey, with God as her guide and stronghold. In addition, she has been blessed with a great support system that have helped in so many ways. With this being said, our hope with this fundraiser is first to raise awareness of Amber's condition and provide a platform to provide continued updates about her progress. Second, we hope this fundraiser will offer our friends and family the opportunity to provide their support, whether that be emotionally or financially. We have so many prayer warriors from almost every state in the United States praying for Amber and our family. You are all a blessing, and we can't thank you enough."

Since this first post, updates have been given every few days with the latest stating that Amber has arrived back home in November and is still continuing treatment.

Maass expressed, "We are glad we can have the Winter Festival and Candy Walk again this year, especially to help Amber and her family."