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Winterfest is Friday
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Winterfest is Friday


Santa Claus, right, and Mayor Matt Walsh, left, chat with the crowd after the holiday lights at Bayliss Park were turned on during Winterfest on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.

Council Bluffs Winterfest will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday.

The city noted it will again partner with the Council Bluffs Public Library, The 712 Initiative, Union Pacific Museum and Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment to host the Council Bluffs holiday tradition.

Organizers canceled Winterfest in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there was a light display at Bayliss Park and a holiday lights tour.

The main event at Winterfest is the Bayliss Park Lighting Ceremony. At 6:30 p.m., Santa Claus and Mayor Walsh lead the crowd in a song of Jingle Bells followed by a countdown, after which Bayliss Park is illuminated with more than 40,000 twinkle lights.

The 2021 Winterfest merriments include the traditional favorites plus a few new additions. The Council Bluffs Public Library is bringing real reindeer into Bayliss Park and offering reindeer-themed arts, crafts and literacy festivities. Also new is a live ice sculpture demonstration presented by PACE. And for the first time, the Union Pacific Museum is lighting its building with a festive display and gifting light-up jewelry to kids.

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The 712 Initiative is hosting the Makers Village again, offering the opportunity to shop unique handmade holiday gifts from local vendors in a pop-up market on Pearl Street. Food trucks will be present with concessions available for purchase.

Thanks to The Salvation Army, free hot chocolate will be available. Traditional festivities include live music from the Salvation Army brass ensemble, traveling Dickens carolers, an outdoor screening of a holiday classic, balloon art, face painting, crafts and several jolly photo ops.

All Winterfest activities are free to the public. Items from the food truck and Makers Village will be available for purchase. Find the Winterfest at Bayliss Park event on Facebook @CityofCB.


Nathaniel Drewes, 7, right, and his sister, Gracelynn, 5, left, pose for a photo inside a sleigh outside the Union Pacific Museum during the Winterfest celebration surrounding Bayliss Park on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019. This year’s event will be held on Nov. 19, 2021.


Six-year-old Katie Eggenberg, front, and her twin brother, Tommy, check out the holiday lights at Bayliss Park during the 2019 Winterfest celebration, which was hosted by the City of Council Bluffs, The 712 Initiative, Union Pacific Museum and Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment.


Families check out the holiday lights at Bayliss Park during Winterfest on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.


Santa Claus , center, is paid a visit by Rose Ella Bergman, 4, left, and her brother, Daxen, 2, at Bayliss Park during Winterfest on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019.

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