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Holiday season events scheduled
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Oh, ho ho, here we go... The hectic holiday season is upon us with Thanksgiving a mere week away and Christmas soon to follow.

Hopefully, we can make keeping track of community events a little easier this year.

Santa’s visits

Santa Claus will be visiting Gays Mills and Soldiers Grove on Saturday, Dec. 13.

In Gays Mills, Santa will be found in the Gays Mills Community Commerce Center, located at 16381 State Highway 131, from 10:15 a.m. until noon.

Luther Memorial Church will hold a bake sale and white elephant sale in conjunction with Santa’s visit and some Gays Mills Farmers Market sellers may be in attendance, as well.

Santa will be stopping at the Soldiers Grove Public Library (Community Building, 102 Passive Sun Drive) from 1 to 3 p.m.

The Soldiers Grove Lionesses will hold a bake sale and Chinese Raffle in the library as well.

At the schools

It’s holiday concerts and holiday breaks at the local schools!

The kids have put in a lot of time getting ready to sing and play for an audience. And shortly after, it’s off for two weeks of Christmas and New Year holiday vacation.

North Crawford Schools will hold their middle school and high school band and choral music concerts on Monday, Dec. 15. The middle school concert is at 7 p.m. and the high school concert is at 8 p.m. The third through fifth grade concert will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 17 at 2 p.m.

The holiday break for North Crawford begins with an early release on Tuesday, Dec. 23 with school resuming on Monday, Jan. 5.

At Seneca Schools, the elementary school’s annual holiday concert will be held at 1:45 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 15. The middle school band concert will be held the same day at 7 p.m.

The holiday break at Seneca begins on Wednesday, Dec. 24 with school resuming on Monday, Jan. 5.

Special events

The United Methodist churchwomen have organized a Tour of Homes in Soldiers Grove on Sunday, Dec. 14 as a fundraiser for the Gays Mills Food Pantry.

The tour begins at the United Methodist Church, where a display of nativity scenes and the parish Christmas tree may be viewed. Tickets for the tour are purchased at the church. For $5, you receive five tickets and a map.

The homes to be viewed are – the Joie and Sandra Skarda residence (43984 North Clayton Road), the Carol and Mason Zajicek residence (102 Tamarack Street), the Laurel and Darlene Hestetune residence (305 Pleasant Street), the Old Oak Inn (500 Church Street), and the Roth House Bed and Breakfast (102 Pine Street).

Each house will be decorated in an individual theme reflecting the character of both the home and its owners, from country to Victorian.

On the evening of Monday, Dec. 15, the Roth House will light the Memory Tree at 6 p.m. For $10, you can purchase a string of lights in memoriam of friends and family or any other person no longer present. Those lights are used to light the giant pine in front of the Roth House throughout the Christmas holiday.

Funds raised from the Memory Tree are used to support a different local charity and institution each year. As with the tour, funds from this year’s tree will go to support the Gays Mills Food Pantry.

To purchase a string of lights, send the money to Carol Zajicek, 102 Tamarack Street, Soldiers Grove, with the words “memory tree” and the name of the person to be remembered in the memo line.

The Second Annual Bizarre Bazaar and Bake Sale will be held on Saturday, Dec. 13 at 212 Main Street (the old community building) in downtown Gays Mills from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The event features crafts and a plastic flamingo-decorating contest. Funds raised through the bake sale go toward buying hats and mittens for North Crawford students.

Royal Bank has not yet set the date for their annual Open House. It is usually held the week before Christmas, but sometimes happens a bit earlier, so watch for their ad in the Independent-Scout in early December. The open house offers crafting for kids and gives the community a chance to make donations to the local food pantry and churches.