Pioneer Village Christmas returns

Monday, November 29, 2021

PLYMOUTH CO. — The Pioneer Village Christmas Wonderland will be open this Christmas season for visitors on two weekends, Dec. 4-5 and Dec. 11-12.

The wonderland is open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., each Saturday and Sunday of the two weekends at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in Le Mars.

Bonita Davison coordinates with a group of volunteers to make sure everything Christmasy is at the fairgrounds.

After having to be shuttered in 2020 due to COVID-19, Davison said, “everything that we’ve always had will be back this year.”

Santa Claus will be at the Sportsman’s Club each evening, ready to listen to the wishes of children and to hand out bags of candy to them.

The Town & Country Toy Club will continue their tradition of passing out stuffed toys to children at the Toy Club building in Pioneer Village.

“They have a lot of toys, and that’s great,” Davison said.

“The Round Barn is all done and ready to go. We have a lot of stuff in there. Both floors are completely decorated. We did a little more Mickey Mouse things this year, making that a larger display,” she said.

“It always seems you don’t see everything the first time you go through, there’s just a lot to see,” she added.

All buildings that are open will be heated, except the Round Barn.

Outside of Century Hall, young and old may roast marshmallows, thanks to the Powder Players Snowmobile Club members.

“Horsedrawn wagon rides will be given with lighted wagons. I think we will have three teams out there for sure, maybe four,” Davison said.

Providing the horses and wagons are Eric Wagner, Dean and Bonita Davison and Greg Lammers.

“Dallas Vaughn may have his out there too, or be helping out,” she added.

“We will have that horse-drawn cutter sleigh out there again as a photo opportunity. We had it there two years ago,” Davison said.

Other photo opportunities will be available at the bingo stand, where various Christmas cutouts will be placed.

Once inside Century Hall, visitors will be able to view about 70 decorated Christmas trees, put together by clubs, organizations, churches and businesses in the county.

The Kiwanis Club and Action Club members will be handing out popcorn balls, while the Le Mars Lions Club will serve freshly popped popcorn.

The Knights of Columbus will man the hot chocolate stand this year.

The Le Mars Rotary Club will be serving cookies and coffee. Chocolate milk will also be available.

The stage at the north end of Century Hall will be filled with Christmas music each night the wonderland is open.

Entertainment coordinators are Bill and Janice Renken, assisted by Jo Ellen Cronin and Monte Erickson. Sound is provided by Monte Erickson and Tom Mullally with Jim Rohlfs serving as photographer.

The first weekend’s entertainment includes:

Saturday, Dec. 4

6 p.m. - State Line Drifter Band - Brent Thompson, drums; Scott Hall, lead guitar & vocal; Anna Rose, lead vocals & guitar; Dave Wermera, lead vocal & lead guitar; Jim Viet, bass; Terry Durr, rhythm guitar; Nancy Rogers, vocal.

7 p.m. - Piano Students of Denice Kolker, Merrill

7:30 p.m. - Marlyn Renken - Max Eisma and Henry Renken, “Deck of Cards” Henry Renken recites Pledge of Allegiance.

8 p.m. - State Line Drifters Band, finishes the evening.

Sunday, Dec. 5

5:30 p.m. - Central Academy Dance Team, under the direction of Beth Ruden and Amy Davis

6 p.m. - Monte, Lisa, Lucas and Eric Erickson, keyboard, guitar and vocal, St. John’s Lutheran Church, Craig; and Rose Heeren, vocal, St. John's Lutheran Church, Le Mars

7 p.m. - Stanton Lucky Clovers 4-H Club, leaders Nancy Zubrod & Jennifer Bockelman; Sam Zubrod, Honor Band, student of Paul Niebuhr

7:30 p.m. - Allyn Anderson, “Message of Christmas”

8 p.m. - Monte Erickson and sons Lucas and Eric

Getting volunteers has been a bit difficult, and Davison appreciates the help she has received from students from Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic schools.

“This morning (Nov. 22) we emptied the trees out of the truck and the Le Mars Community T&I kids came down and did a fabulous job for us,” Davison said. “That really, really helped, we have everything all set up and done in there.”

Decorating trees was done Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and finish up Monday, Nov. 29.

“Earlier this fall, members of the Le Mars Community football team came out and put the outdoor lights up,” Davison said. “The Gehlen kids came when it was suppose to be their service day, and helped put a number of things up and carried items for us.”

Plymouth County 4-H club members are busy baking cookies for the two weekends.

“We do buy some cookies from Hy-Vee, which also donates some,” she added. “Individuals offer to bring cookies for us, too.”

All those donations are greatly appreciated, she added.

She said Santa Claus should be at the Sportsman’s Club by 5 p.m. each evening.

“We are open from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. each evening, even the night of the Lighted Christmas Parade,” she said.

Those who decorated trees may take their trees down after 8 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12, or on Monday, Dec. 13.

The trees must be cleared out and back in the trailer.

“We have T&I kids who will help put those back in the truck,” she said. “It’s great that our students know what’s going on in the community and are being a part of it.”

Davison took over as the overall coordinator of the event since 2006.

“I think we‘ve been involved in it at least 25 years,” she said of the couple with their Percheron horses.

The event has been going for at least 30 years.

“Hopefully it will keep going and we can get someone to take it over,” she said. “I do really enjoy doing it.”

She encourages everyone to make time to visit the Pioneer Village Christmas Wonderland and enjoy the Christmas spirit.

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