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Christmas Lights

𝑨 𝑪𝒉𝒓𝒊𝒔𝒕𝒎𝒂𝒔 𝑷𝒂𝒔𝒕 is set to return on Friday, December 2 & Saturday, December 3, 2022 in historic West Branch, Iowa (just 6 miles from Iowa City down I-80). Join us for West Branch’s traditional holiday festival featuring timeless activities throughout Main Street including horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides, photos with Santa, train display, festival of trees, silent auction, treats around the fire and more! Full schedule below.

 

MAIN ATTRACTIONS

HORSE DRAWN WAGONS & CARRIAGE RIDES

Free wagon rides on Main Street will load across from the Fire Station. Or skip the line and enjoy a Carriage Ride which now requires a reservation in advance - Reserve a time here.

PHOTOS WITH SANTA & CHRISTMAS CHARACTERS

Santa Claus is coming to town for photos in Town Hall! Or enjoy some "donut seeds" and "reindeer food" from his Elves in Heritage Square. Watch out for the Grinch!

TIMELESS TRAIN & CHRISTMAS TREE DISPLAYS

Gibson Family Train on display at the Fire Station & Festival of Trees on display at Hoover Presidential Foundation. Free cookies at both locations!

GATHER 'ROUND THE FIRE FOR DONUTS, COCOA & MORE

Warm up by bon fires and Dutch ovens throughout Main Street! Enjoy homemade fried donuts, roast a hot dog or marshmallow, or sip cider & hot cocoa.

EAT, SHOP & EXPLORE HISTORIC MAIN STREET

Our local businesses are ready to welcome you in for holiday shopping and cheer! Enjoy open houses and extended hours. View our local shops here.

SILENT AUCTION FOR-THE-AGES

Bid to win incredible gift baskets, fun experiences and unique items. All proceeds benefit West Branch Community Development Group. View & Bid online here!

SOMETHING FOR MY SIBLING

Kids can "shop" donated or gently used gift items to select & wrap something special for a sibling or loved one. No fee, reservations requested.

BAKE SALES, SOUP SUPPER, CRAFT FAIR & MORE!

Our local churches and community organizations have a variety of events to enjoy in addition to pop-up vendors and more! See the full event schedule below.

 

EVENT SCHEDULE - FRIDAY 12/2/22

West Branch Christmas Past

FESTIVAL OF TREES DISPLAY

Rummells Center - 127 W. Main St 
9:00am-8:00pm

Enjoy this timeless display of Christmas trees and décor, complementary cookies & cider and a festive photo opportunity. You'll have a blast trying to "find the pickle"!

SILENT AUCTION FOR-THE-AGES

Rummells Center - 127 W. Main St
9:00am-8:00pm

View items and pre-bid online here or bid in person during the event. Bid to win incredible gift baskets, memorable experiences and unique items! Proceeds support West Branch Community Development Group (501c3). Auction ends Saturday at 8pm. Items will be available for pick-up from Dec 7-15th.

SOMETHING FOR MY SIBLING

Izzy's Treasures - Located in Heritage Square
9:00am - 8:00pm

Kids can "shop" donated or gently used gift items to select & wrap something special for a sibling or loved one. No fee, reservations requested.

EAT, SHOP & EXPLORE HISTORIC WEST BRANCH

Main Street West Branch

10am-8pm Shop Hours Vary

Our local businesses are ready to welcome you in for holiday shopping and cheer! Enjoy extended hours, special offers and open houses. View our local shops here. View our local eateries here.

HOLIDAY ELF HUNT: GNOME PLACE LIKE HOME

Downtown Businesses

10am-8pm Open Hours Vary

A group of gnomes have gone missing around town, help track them down with this scavenger hunt to match each Elf with it's gnome buddy! Submit completed form for a chance to win a prize of Downtown Dollars.

CHRISTMAS PRESENT MARKET

Little Lights on the Lane, 2 Ember Ln
2:00pm-8:00pm

Holiday shopping vendor event. $10 for a two-day admission both Friday & Saturday.

COMMUNITY TREE LIGHTING

Village Green
5:00pm

Join us to kickoff the holiday festival with a brief ceremony & Santa's arrival to town!

HORSE-DRAWN WAGON RIDES 

Loading on the corner of Main St & N 2nd St (across from the Fire Station)
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Enjoy a FREE horse-drawn wagon ride. Wagons hold 15-20 people and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Wait time will vary, expect a line.

HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES *RESERVATIONS REQUIRED*

Loading at Wapsi Creek Park
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Skip the line and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride with your family or friends (up to 5 adults). You'll pay $20 to reserve a carriage ride time and will then receive $10 back in Downtown Dollars at the event. Reserve a time here.

HOMEMADE DONUTS

209 E Main St. (Previously Presidential Motors)
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Our local Boy Scouts will be frying up fresh donuts in the parking lot! Get 'em while they're hot. Free will donations accepted.

PHOTOS WITH SANTA

Town Hall - 113 N 1st St
5:30 - 7:30pm

Please enter on Main Street. Bring your phone to capture your own picture.

Each child will go home with a craft kit courtesy of West Branch Parks & Rec and West Branch Public Library (while supplies last).

Doors open at 5pm, Santa will arrive by 5:30pm.  Line will be cut off at 7:30pm (all in line will see Santa).

BRICK OVEN MARSHMALLOW ROASTING (AND HOT COCOA)

Intersection of Main St & Downey St
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Traditional brick ovens hosted by West Branch Lions Club. Stop by to warm up and roast a complementary marshmallow and sip a cup of cocoa.

FREE WARM BEVERAGES

Liberty Communications - 117 N 1st St
Lions Club - Brick Ovens
WBARC - Springdale Agency 101 N Downey St
Hoover Presidential Foundation - 127 W Main St

5:00 - 8:00pm

Stop by these open houses for free hot chocolate, compliments of these local businesses and organizations.

GIBSON FAMILY TRAIN DISPLAY

West Branch Fire Station
5:00pm - 8:00pm

You'll be in awe of this festive 144-square foot Lionel train collection, proudly displayed by the Gibson Family for all to enjoy! Complimentary cookies & popcorn.

FA-LA-LA-LA-LLAMAS 

Heritage Square - Main Street
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Snap a selfie with the most festive alpacas in the area! Frerichs Alpaca Farm (located just outside of town) will be bringing some fluffy friends to Heritage Square to spread Christmas cheer!

WINTER HOLIDAY ARTS & CRAFTS

Herbert Hoover NHS Visitor Center
5:00pm - 9:00pm

A variety of holiday craft projects will be available for all ages in the park visitor center. Park staff and volunteers will provide materials and instructions for these fun take home projects.

SANTA'S ELF & SLEIGH SIGHTING

Heritage Square - Main Street
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Stop by for a photo next to Santa's Sleigh and visit with a real-life Elf. If you're lucky you might even snag some magic reindeer food or donut seeds (made possible by West Branch American Legion Auxiliary).

MUSIC IN THE PARK

Hayrack Stage in front of Herbert Hoover's Birthplace Cottage
5:30 – 9:00 pm

Located at the Hayrack Stage near the Birthplace Cottage with a warm fire to keep you comfortable, join various groups from the West Branch Community School District – Fine Arts programs in traditional Christmas music throughout the night. A schedule of class groupings and programs will be available soon.

BON FIRES & HOT DOG ROASTING

West Branch Fire Station
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Gather 'round the fire with family, friends and neighbors to roast hot dogs and celebrate the holiday season.

DIY WREATH CLASS *RESERVATIONS REQUIRED*

Little Lights on the Lane, 2 Ember Ln.
6:00pm

Tickets for the wreath workshop include a ticket to Christmas Present Market, everything needed to make a hoop wreath, embellishments, instructions from a professional florist, and a discounted drink ticket.

CHRISTMAS IN YELLOWSTONE DOCUMENTARY

Herbert Hoover NHS Visitor Center
6:00pm & 8:00pm

As snow falls and Christmas lights glow in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a holiday season of a different sort settles
over the great winter world of Yellowstone, America's first national park and one of the greatest expanses of unspoiled nature and wildlife anywhere on Earth. Breathtaking landscapes frame intimate scenes as Yellowstone's diverse animal residents make their way through the most challenging season of the year when nature's inhospitality is matched only by its serenity. From the unique crystals of individual snowflakes to the grand sweep of Yellowstone's Hayden Valley, this is a Christmas like no other. Please join us for this PBS Nature documentary in the park theater.

HERBERT HOOVER AND CHRISTMAS: A NATIONAL PARK RANGER PROGRAM

Herbert Hoover NHS Visitor Center
7:00pm

Christmas was very important to Herbert Hoover, and he celebrated the holiday many ways during his long life. Join us for a ranger talk about Hoover and Christmas, from the simple holiday celebrations of his Quaker youth to his globetrotting years as a mining engineer in many lands, to his years in the White House and a memorable Christmas Eve fire in 1929. In the last 20 years of his life, Hoover celebrated Christmas with elaborate decorations, gatherings, and gift giving from his suite in the Waldorf Towers. Based on the recollections of family and friends, and Hoover’s own writings, this talk will open a window into the private life of a president and his family, as they celebrated a favorite holiday.

BELL CHOIR CONCERT

Friends Church - 116 Downey St
7:00pm

Christmas Carols played by the Friends Church Bell Choir for all to enjoy!

 

EVENT SCHEDULE - SATURDAY 12/3/22

West Branch Christmas Past

Friday & Saturday December 2-3, 2022

CANDY SALE

WB United Methodist Church - 203 N. Downey St
8:00am - Noon

Get some homemade Christmas candies during this annual UMC fundraiser!

FREE COMMUNITY BREAKFAST

Friends Church - 116 Downey St.
8:30-10:30am

All are welcome!

FREE ENTRY: HERBERT HOOVER PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY & MUSEUM

210 Parkside Dr.
9:00am - 5:00pm

West Branch is proud to house the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. Visit the permanent galleries to explore the story of Hoover's early years in West Branch and his fifty years of public service!

BETHANY'S ANNUAL COOKIE WALK

Bethany Lutheran Church - 235 S. 2nd St
9:00am - 10:30am

A variety of homemade cookies will be available for you to select and purchase. Come early for the best selection! All proceeds are used for local missions.team members or any other items you want to highlight on your site. Have a lot to say? Easily turn any item into a full page by clicking ‘Create a page from this item’ in the edit panel.

FESTIVAL OF TREES DISPLAY

Rummells Center - 127 W. Main St
9:00am-8:00pm

Enjoy this timeless display of Christmas trees and décor, complementary cookies & cocoa and a festive photo opportunity.

SILENT AUCTION FOR-THE-AGES   *LAST DAY TO BID*

Rummells Center - 127 W. Main St
9:00am-8:00pm

View items and bid online here or stop by to see them in person during the event. Bid to win incredible gift baskets, memorable experiences and unique items! Proceeds support West Branch Community Development Group (501c3). Auction ends Saturday at 8pm. Items will be available for pick-up next week.

GIBSON FAMILY TRAIN DISPLAY

West Branch Fire Station
4:00pm - 8:00pm

You'll be in awe of this festive 144-square foot Lionel train collection, proudly displayed by the Gibson Family for all to enjoy!  Complimentary popcorn and cookies will also be served.

FARMER'S MARKET

Rummells Center (Lower Level) - 127 W Main St.
10:00am - Noon

Shop local produce and baked goods from area growers.

CHRISTMAS PRESENT MARKET

Little Lights on the Lane - 3 Ember Ln.
10:00am-5:00pm

Vendor event for holiday shopping! $10 for two day admission (both Fri & Sat). Get Tickets here

EAT, SHOP & EXPLORE HISTORIC WEST BRANCH

Main Street West Branch

10am-8pm Shop Hours Vary

Our local businesses are ready to welcome you in for holiday shopping and cheer! Enjoy extended hours, special offers and open houses. View our local shops here. View our local eateries here.

HOLIDAY ELF HUNT: GNOME PLACE LIKE HOME

Downtown Businesses

10am-8pm Open Hours Vary

A group of gnomes have gone missing around town, help track them down with this scavenger hunt to match each Elf with it's gnome buddy! Submit completed form for a chance to win a prize of Downtown Dollars.

DIY WREATH WORKSHOPS *TICKETS REQUIRED*

Little Lights on the Lane - 3 Ember Ln.
10:00am & 2:00pm

Tickets for the workshop include a ticket to Christmas Present Market, everything needed to make a hoop wreath, embellishments, instructions from a professional florist, and a discounted drink ticket.

BAKE SALE & BAZZAR

Springdale Insurance Agency Lobby - 101 N Downey St

9-Noon & 4-8pm

Homemade baked goods & crafted items available to support Springdale United Methodist Church.

SOMETHING FOR MY SIBLING 

Izzy's Treasures - Located in Heritage Square
9:00am - 8:00pm

Kids can "shop" donated or gently used gift items to select & wrap something special for a sibling or loved one. No fee, reservations requested.

HORSE-DRAWN WAGON RIDES 

Loading on the corner of Main St & N 2nd St (across from Fire Station)
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Enjoy a free classic horse-drawn wagon ride. Wagons hold 15-20 people and are filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Wait time will vary, expect a line.

HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES *RESERVATIONS REQUIRED*

Loading at Wapsi Creek Park
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Skip the line and enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride with your family or friends (up to 5 adults). You'll pay $20 to reserve a carriage ride time and will then receive $10 back in Downtown Dollars at the event. Make a reservation here.

HOMEMADE DONUTS

209 E Main St. (Previously Presidential Motors)
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Our local Boy Scouts will be frying up fresh donuts in the parking lot! Get 'em while they're hot. Free will donations accepted.

PHOTOS WITH SANTA

Town Hall - 113 N 1st St *enter on Main Street*
4:00 - 7:30pm

Bring your phone to capture a photo with Santa! Doors will open at 3:30pm, Santa will arrive at 4pm.  Doors will close at 7:30pm - everyone in line at that time will see Santa. 

Each child will go home with a cookie decorating kit courtesy of West Branch Kiwanis Club (while supplies last).

FREE HOT COCOA

Hoover Presidential Foundation - 127 W Main St, 5- 8pm
Lions Club (Brick Ovens) 4-8pm

Stop by these open houses for free hot cocoa from our local businesses.

BRICK OVEN MARSHMALLOW ROASTING (AND HOT COCOA)

Intersection of Main St & Downey St
4:00pm - 8:00pm

Traditional brick ovens hosted by West Branch Lions Club. Stop by to warm up and roast a complementary marshmallow.

FA-LA-LA-LA-LLAMAS 

Heritage Square - Main Street
4:00pm - 8:00pm

Snap a selfie with the most festive alpacas in the area! Frerichs Alpaca Farm (located just outside of town) will be bringing some fluffy friends to Heritage Square to spread Christmas cheer!

SANTA'S ELF & SLEIGH SIGHTING

Heritage Square - Main Street
4:00pm - 8:00pm

Stop by for a photo next to Santa's Sleigh and visit with a real-life Elf. If you're lucky you might even snag some magic reindeer food or donut seeds (made possible by West Branch American Legion Auxiliary).

BON FIRES & HOT DOG ROASTING

West Branch Fire Station
4:00pm - 8:00pm

Gather 'round the fire with family, friends and neighbors to roast hot dogs and celebrate the holiday season.

WINTER HOLIDAY ARTS & CRAFTS

Herbert Hoover NHS Visitor Center
5:00 - 9:00pm

A variety of holiday craft projects will be available for all ages in the park visitor center. Park staff and volunteers will provide materials and instructions for these fun take home projects.

MUSIC IN THE PARK

5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Located at the Hayrack Stage near the Birthplace Cottage with a warm fire to keep you comfortable, join various groups from the West Branch Community School District – Fine Arts programs in traditional Christmas music throughout the night. A schedule of class groupings and programs will be available soon.

HERITAGE MUSEUM

109 W. Main St.
5:00pm - 8:00pm

Explore West Branch history at the Heritage Museum, a volunteer-run repository for local history and historical objects. Self guided tours.

SOUP SUPPER & LIVE NATIVITY

WB United Methodist Church - 203 N. Downey St
5:00pm - 7:00pm

Enjoy a community soup supper featuring ham & bean, chili, potato, and vegetable beef soup for a free will donation. Come celebrate the season, warm up and view the Live Nativity! All are welcome.

CHRISTMAS IN YELLOWSTONE DOCUMENTARY

Herbert Hoover NHS Visitor Center
6:00pm & 8:00pm

As snow falls and Christmas lights glow in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a holiday season of a different sort settles over the great winter world of Yellowstone, America's first national park and one of the greatest expanses of unspoiled nature and wildlife anywhere on Earth. Breathtaking landscapes frame intimate scenes as Yellowstone's diverse animal residents make their way through the most challenging season of the year when nature's inhospitality is matched only by its serenity. From the unique crystals of individual snowflakes to the grand sweep of Yellowstone's Hayden Valley, this is a Christmas like no other. Please join us for this PBS Nature documentary in the park theater.

HERBERT HOOVER AND CHRISTMAS: A NATIONAL PARK RANGER PROGRAM

Herbert Hoover NHS Visitor Center
7:00pm

Christmas was very important to Herbert Hoover, and he celebrated the holiday many ways during his long life. Join us for a ranger talk about Hoover and Christmas, from the simple holiday celebrations of his Quaker youth to his globetrotting years as a mining engineer in many lands, to his years in the White House and a memorable Christmas Eve fire in 1929. In the last 20 years of his life, Hoover celebrated Christmas with elaborate decorations, gatherings, and gift giving from his suite in the Waldorf Towers. Based on the recollections of family and friends, and Hoover’s own writings, this talk will open a window into the private life of a president and his family, as they celebrated a favorite holiday.

LIVE MUSIC & ART

Hoover Fine Arts - 102 W Main St.
7:00-10:00pm

Featuring duo Gabrielle Kouri & George Spielbaurer and solo performer, Sam Knutson. Refreshments provided.

 
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EVENT FAQS

WHERE CAN I FIND PUBLIC RESTROOMS?

Public restrooms are available in Town Hall (with changing table), NHS Visitor's Center, at the Fire Station, within Heritage Museum and in the Hoover Presidential Foundation building.

WHERE DO I MAKE RESERVATIONS FOR THE CARRIAGE RIDES?

Click here to reserve a time to enjoy this year's horse-drawn carriage rides. Reservations are required for carriage rides, this allows guests to avoid the lines and enhance your event experience. You pay a $20 fee to reserve your time and you will receive $10 back as Downtown Dollars to spend at any Main Street West Branch shop or restaurant as you eat, shop & explore during the Christmas Past festivities. 

WHY ARE THE CARRIAGE & WAGON RIDES USING AN ALTERNATIVE ROUTE THIS YEAR?

In past years the horse-draw wagon rides have occurred up and down historic Main Street. Although we love this route the committee opted to adjust the path due to safety concerns with increased traffic. The horse-drawn Carriage rides will follow the same path as 2021 as the National Park is now hosting Music in the Park.  We hope you enjoy the timeless fun!