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2018 Holiday Events

Photos with Santa
Date:
November 23 – December 24, 2018
Time: Mondays-Saturdays from 12-8 p.m.; Sundays from 12-6 p.m.
Location: River Hills Mall | 1850 Adams Street, Mankato
Taking photos with Santa is the perfect way to create lasting memories for the holidays. Get into the festive spirit by making a trip to visit the big guy at River Hills Mall. Just reserve your time and skip the line! Kids will love having the chance to tell Santa Claus what’s on their wish list; plus, your pictures will make for excellent holiday cards!
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Kiwanis Holiday Lights Parade & Opening Night
Date:
November 24, 2018
Time: 6 p.m.
Location: Sibley Park | 900 Mound Ave, Mankato
Join us for the annual Kiwanis Holiday Lights lighted parade! Watch the lighted floats pass by and stay to watch the lighting ceremony, where 1.5 million LED lights instantly turn on at Sibley Park! Cars will be allowed to start driving through the display at 8 p.m. Pedestrians can walk through the display starting immediately after the lighting ceremony. Stay for a picture with Santa, take a ride on the Ferris wheel and carousel, or go skating on the rink (bring your own skates). The event is free, but cash donations and non-perishable food items will be accepted. Kiwanis Holiday Lights runs through Dec. 31.
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Mankato Opry Jamboree Christmas Show
Date: November 24 & 25, 2018 @ 7 p.m.; November 26, 2018 @ 2 p.m.
Location: The Kato Ballroom | 200 Chestnut St, Mankato
This is an Opry-style Country Music Show featuring the Mankato Opry All-Star Band and 13 guest singers! It’s true traditional country music as you remember from the 1960s to the 1990s, along with your favorite Christmas songs. Tickets for the show are $22, and a buffet dinner is available prior to each show for an additional $15. For show and dinner tickets, contact the Kato Ballroom at 507-625-7553.
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Shop Small in the City Center
Date: November 24, 2018
Time: All day
Location: City Center, Mankato
Saturday, November 24 is Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate and support small businesses and all they do for their communities.
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16th Annual GSR Fine Art Festival
Date:
November 24, 2018 @ 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; November 25, 2018 @ 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Location: Mankato Verizon Center | 1 Civic Center Place, Mankato
45+ visual artists will display and sell their locally made, one-of-a-kind work at the 16th annual GSR Fine Art Festival. Work by potters, painters, photographers, jewelers, sculptors, glass, leather, wood and fiber artists will be available in a wide range of prices. All sales go directly to the artists.
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After Thanksgiving Sales and Vendor Show
Date: November 24, 2018
Time: 12-4 p.m.
Location: Indian Island Winery | 18018 631st Ave, Janesville
Get all your Christmas shopping done in one place! Vendors will be selling a variety of items, and they all make great gifts! Shop at the winery gift shop, too, for wine-related items, Minnesota wines, Minnesota grape jelly or syrup, and gift cards. Santa will be at the winery to listen to your Christmas wish lists, so feel free to bring your kids and your camera! Oh, and did we mention the door prizes?
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Pet Nights with Santa
Date: Mondays only from November 26-December 17, 2018
Time: 5-8 p.m.
Location: River Hills Mall | 1850 Adams Street, Mankato
Capture a ‘paw-fect’ pic at Santa’s Workshop! Bring your four-legged friend to see Santa and pose for a photo. Cats and dogs only, please.
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Decorate a Gingerbread House
Date: November 29, 2018 @ 4:30-6:30 p.m., December 1, 2018 @ 10 a.m.-3 p.m., & December 2, 2018 @ 1-3 p.m.
Location: Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota | 224 Lamm Street, Mankato
Join the Museum’s annual fun and creative event for the whole family: decorate a gingerbread house, take it home to display with your holiday decorations, and leave the mess behind! Gingerbread houses will be constructed in advance and the Museum will provide decorative materials at the event. There is a limited number of houses, so make sure to reserve your spot today! Cost is $20 per house for Museum members and $25 per house for non-members.
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Holiday PJ Days at Santa’s Workshop
Date: November 30 & December 6, 2018
Time: 1-7 p.m.
Location: River Hills Mall | 1850 Adams Street, Mankato
“He sees you when you’re sleeping”, so dress up the whole family in their favorite holiday PJs to  take an unforgettable photo with Santa! Whether it’s silly or sweet, it will be the perfect picture to share with all your family and friends.
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Christmas in Lake Crystal & Gift Fair
Date: December 1, 2018
Time: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Location: Lake Crystal Area Recreation Center | 621 W Nathan St, Lake Crystal
Events at the Lake Crystal Rec Center include: holiday gift & craft fair, silent auction, cookie bake sale, chili feed, coloring contest, drop-in daycare, and pictures with Santa 10am-1pm (bring YOUR OWN camera). Stay afterwards for the city-wide scavenger hunt starting at 4 p.m. and the annual ugly sweater contest at The Lakes Sports Bar and Grill.
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Southern Minnesota Christmas Festival
Date: December 1, 2018
Time: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Location: Verizon Center Grand Hall | 1 Civic Center Plaza, Mankato
This event will feature musical acts singing all of your holiday favorites, kids crafts and activities, photos with Santa Claus and over 50 vendor booths filled with crafts, gifts and ideas for your holiday parties. The Southern Minnesota Christmas Festival is also part of the kick-off of the Marine Corps League Toys for Tots campaign. Admission is free, but we ask that you bring a new unwrapped toy donation if you’re able. This is the perfect kick off to the holiday season!
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Morgan Creek Vineyards Holiday Open House
Date: December 1-2, 2018
Time: 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
Location: Morgan Creek Vineyards | 23707 478th Ave, New Ulm
Bring your cross-country skis or your snow shoes for outside adventure, and take heart knowing that good people and mulled wine will be near the outdoor burning bowl keeping things warm around the fire. Throughout the day, there will be wood-fired foods, pizzette, specialty cheeses and desserts available. Pair them up with sweet red holiday wine, Saint Wenceslaus, or the elegant Sweet E. Then start thinking about wine, gift baskets and accessories for your holiday giving — and enjoy huge savings on all.
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Bells on Belgrade
Date: December 1, 2018
Time: 2-6 p.m.
Location: Belgrade Ave, North Mankato
Holiday fun event for the entire family, featuring trolley rides, reindeer games, Santa and his elves, local caroling groups, Winter Wonderland Parade, make-and-take crafts, and much more. The Winter Wonderland Parade is set for 6:30 p.m. This event is kid friendly and free!
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Victorian Christmas at Betsy’s House
Date: December 1 & 8, 2018
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Location: 332 and 333 Center Street, Mankato
A Victorian Christmas at Betsy’s House is an annual tradition for many! The house is decorated for the season and costumed living history actors will make you feel as if you stepped back in time. Bring your camera and have your picture taken with Betsy, Tacy, and Tib by the Christmas tree. Experience the magic when Betsy’s House is lit by candlelight at dusk.  Tacy’s house is open for holiday shopping with refreshments and cookies. Kids can shop for Christmas ornaments for 10 cents, just as Betsy, Tacy, Tib, and Winona did!
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Christmas at the Hubbard House
Date: December 1, 2018 from 3-7 p.m. and December 2, 2018 from 1-4 p.m.
Location: The Hubbard House | 606 South Broad Street, Mankato
Start your holiday season off right with a trip to the historic R.D. Hubbard House. Take a step back in time as costumed characters take you through a Hubbard Family Christmas. Explore new seasonal decorations and engage with the characters to help solve a mystery! After your tour, enjoy refreshments in the Carriage House.
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Candy Cane Concert: The Snowman
Date: December 1, 2018
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: St. Peter High School Auditorium | 2121 Broadway Ave, St. Peter
Bring the whole family to this heartwarming, not-to-be-missed holiday event! The Academy Award-nominated holiday film based on Raymond Briggs’ beloved classic book is brought to life by the Mankato Symphony Orchestra as they perform Howard Blake’s beautiful score to the animated film. Filled with magic and adventure, The Snowman is the perfect way to kick off the holiday season! You’ll also hear holiday classics featuring selections from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker Suite and a holiday sing-along that is sure to get your toes tapping. Head to the lobby during intermission to make special snowman-inspired crafts and treats!
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Diamond Dash 5k
Date: December 2, 2018
Time 4:45-6 p.m.
Location: Sibley Park | 900 Mound Ave, Mankato
Take in all the sights of the winter and holiday season during this family-friendly, unchipped 5K Run/Walk. Do four laps around and through Sibley Park and see the Kiwanis Holiday Lights. The event includes pre-race activities, door prizes, photo booth, hot cocoa, and cookies.
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Christmas in Christ Chapel
Date: December 2, 2018 @ 7:30 p.m.
Location: Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus College | 800 W College Ave, St. Peter
Celebrate the Christmas season with music, dance, and theatre presented by Gustavus Adolphus College. The performance is in the beautiful Christ Chapel and is a feast for the senses.
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Play With Your Food Dinner Theatre, Season Three: Santa’s Workshop
Date: December 3, 2018
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Location: Mankato Makerspace | 1700 3rd Ave, Mankato
Kick off your holidays with us and enjoy five new plays, original poetry, jazz music, and a holiday sing-a-long. We are also looking for audience volunteers to share the stage with us! Doors open at 6 p.m., dinner served 6-6:30pm, and show starts promptly at 6:30 pm.
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Christmas at Bethany:
Date: December 6, 2018 @ 5 p.m., December 7, 2018 @ 5 p.m., December 8, 2018 @ 1 p.m., & December 9, 2018 @ 3 p.m.
Location: Bethany Lutheran College | 700 Luther Drive, Mankato
The Bethany Music Department presents its annual “Christmas at Bethany” concerts in Trinity Chapel daily. The Bethany Lutheran College choirs and bands present five performances. Christmas at Bethany Concert tickets are free, with a free-will offering received during the concert. Advance reservations are encouraged as concerts tend to fill and seating is general admission. You may reserve online, or by calling Fine Arts Coordinator Susan Harstad at 507-344-7365.
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Breakfast With Santa
Date: December 8, 2018
Time: 7-9 a.m.
Location: Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota | 224 Lamm Street, Mankato
Santa returns to the Children’s Museum! Come hang out with the most-wanted guest from the North Pole! Eat a delicious breakfast, explore the Museum’s exhibits, and participate in winter-themed activities. Of course, don’t forget all the photos you can take!
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Musicorum Winter Concert: Child of Light
Date: December 8, 2018
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel | 170 Good Counsel Drive, Mankato
Join Musicorum for its annual winter concert, featuring a variety of choral music.
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Miracle on 34th Street: the Ballet
Date: December 8, 2018 @ 7 p.m. and December 9, 2018 @ 2 p.m.
Location: Fitzgerald Auditorium | 110 N. 5th St.
Riverfront Performing Arts is proud to announce the reprisal of our original holiday ballet “Miracle on 34th Street”. Artistic director Annmarie Carlson Drake has created a true holiday spectacular with a cast of over 40; 100 + costumes; 3 complete sets including an 18′ tall New York City skyline, Macy’s storefront and Rockefeller Center Christmas tree. Young children are invited onstage after the performance to meet Santa and the cast. Don’t miss this inspiring story for all ages: “With belief and love miracles can happen”.
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Hubbard House Open for the Holidays
Date: December 8-9 & 15-16, 2018
Time: 1-4 p.m.
Location: The Hubbard House | 606 South Broad Street, Mankato
See the Hubbard House all decorated for the holiday season! Tours start at the Carriage House and take you through this stately mansion.
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Mankato Children’s Chorus Winter Concert
Date: December 9, 2018
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Christ Chapel, Gustavus Adolphus College | 800 W College Ave, St. Peter
Celebrate the holiday season by joining the Mankato Children’s Chorus, Mankato’s premier chorus for area youth in grades 1 through 12. They will be singing traditional and seasonal songs.
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Ugly Sweaters with Santa
Date: December 13, 2018
Time: 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Location: River Hills Mall | 1850 Adams Street, Mankato
Break out your ugliest sweater (you know the one!) and take a fun photo with Santa. Whether it’s adorned with pom-pom snowmen or glitter gingerbread men, the sillier the sweater the better! Bring your family and friends for a night full of laughter!
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Holiday Lights Bike Ride
Date: December 13, 2018
Time: 6-9 p.m.
Location: Nicollet Bike Shop | 607 N Riverfront Drive, Mankato
Join Nicollet Bike for the annual Holiday Lights Bike Ride! Ride the city streets to Sibley Park to view the Kiwanis Holiday Lights display. After viewing the lights, a social will be held at the all new LocAle Brewing Company. Helmets and lights are required. Please consider bringing a cash donation for Kiwanis Holiday Lights.
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33rd Annual: The Nutcracker
Date: December 13-14, 2018 @ 7 p.m. and December 15-16, 2018 @ 1 and 5 p.m.
Location: Ted Paul Theatre, MSU, Mankato | 499 Birchwood Street, Mankato
The Mankato Ballet Company proudly presents The Nutcracker. This is Mankato’s original holiday classic set to the music of Tchaikovsky. This event will surely take your imagination on a magical journey to a lavish Christmas party full of surprises, a fierce battle between toy soldiers and mice, and to the Land of Sweets welcomed by the Sugar Plum Fairy.
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The Divers 6th Annual Christmas Party Concert
Date: December 15, 2018
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Location: Lee Theater, Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, Bethany Lutheran College | 700 Luther Drive, Mankato
Come one, come all to the Divers Christmas Party Concert, which will feature The Divers (BLC alums Pete Bloedel, Eric Halvorson, Loren Halvorson and Andy Overn) for a super fun annual concert. There will be a Christmas carol sing-along as part of the evening of music. Free yuletide fun for everyone! Doors open at 7 p.m. and seating is general admission, first come first served.
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Mankato Holiday Princess Ball
Date: December 16, 2018
Time: 9 a.m.–6:15 p.m.
Location: Courtyard by Marriott Mankato | 901 Raintree Road, Mankato
An amazing holiday themed event filled with magical fun for the whole family, brought to you by Dream Parties! You’ll get an amazing opportunity to meet and greet your favorite Princesses and a few surprise guests – think trolls and mermaids! Your little one will get to participate in holiday themed games and activities, story time sing along, learn some Ballroom dance moves, and…wait, let’s keep it a surprise!
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Kiwanis Holiday Lights
Date: November 24 – December 31, 2018
Time: Sun-Thurs 5-9 p.m. and Fri-Sat 5-10 p.m.
Location: Sibley Park | 900 Mound Ave, Mankato
Kiwanis Holiday lights will feature lighted holiday displays and hundreds of brightly-lit trees. Santa will be in the park Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Live reindeer will be on display until December 24.
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