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Winterlude bringing together community, celebration

Anyone can celebrate summer.

(That’s why everyone does celebrate summer.)

Winter is tricky. You have to give the requisite nod to its star features (snow and cold). But what you really celebrate is winter’s essence; it’s good stuff:

Gatherings and warm spaces.

Giving.

Hot chocolate. Sparkly lights.

Laughter. Family. Good food. (Tight waist bands.) Evergreens. Holiday movies.

And always, always… jingle bells.

Crete successfully celebrated winter last year with its first Winterlude event and is about to do it again. The second annual Winterlude Festival spans Dec. 6-8. It captures winter in a weekend, while celebrating the music, art and food that make the Saline county town unique.

Crete will bring together more than 100 volunteers from the city, Doane College and numerous local organizations to pull off the event, which includes a community tree lighting and live nativity, ice sculpting, historical home and light tours, an arts and craft show, winter fun in the park, a jingle bell jog, photography contest, international tree display, Winterlude walk and more. Events extend from sites throughout Crete to the Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center.

Attendees will be able to eat breakfast with Santa or call loved ones for free – even internationally. They can watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ free of charge at the downtown Isis Theatre, take a free horse and carriage ride or strap on jingle bells for the 5K Jingle Bell Jog. And those who love golf enough or winter enough, can play in the Winterlude Golf Open. Saturday’s events in the park will focus on the cultures who call Crete home, and include a Czech band, a visit from Miss Nebraska, music, and food vendors providing ethnic foods.

Giving back is an integral part of the event, and its various proceeds will benefit Crete Cares, Tiger Paw Care and Share, and the local Food Pantry and Back Pack programs.

After the celebration, the live international, fully decorated evergreen trees in the park will be donated to families in need.

Planners didn’t know what to expect of the first Winterlude event, but were more than pleased with the turnout from Crete and Lincoln, and Seward, Saline and Lancaster counties.  More than 250 people were on hand for the event kick-off at the City Park in 2012. Some 400 yogurt parfaits were devoured at the Breakfast with Santa, while 265 children told Santa their Christmas dream and all the movie seats (and even the aisle) were full at the free movie. The lines for the horse and buggy rides were so long that this year’s event boasts two horses and buggies.

The international calling station and the international Christmas trees were highlights. 

“It was fun to walk into the calling station and hear people laughing and chattering in different languages. We hope more people take advantage of this opportunity. We would love to help people call their loved ones in the service,” said Marilea Thiem, festival coordinator and events director at Doane College.

At the park with international evergreen trees, flags from the countries represented flew by their trees.

“Whole families would stand by the tree that represented their country and take pictures,” Thiem said.

For more information on the festivities, contact Thiem at 402.826.6775.

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What Winterlude partakers can look forward to this year:

 

Friday, Dec. 6

7 p.m. COMMUNITY TREE LIGHTING & TREE OF LIGHTS CEREMONY - United Church of Christ

Light the town and enjoy a community choir and live nativity at the United Church of Christ, located at 12th and Ivy Street, as we celebrate Crete. Honor or remember a loved one with a $25 personalized ornament. Contact Michelle at 402.826.6581 for more information or visit www.bryanhealth.cvent.com/treeoflights2013 to register online. Sponsored by the Crete Area Health Care Foundation, Crete High School FFA and the Crete Berean Church.

5 - 9 p.m. PHONE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS - City Hall

Reach out to your family near and far this holiday season by making FREE international & domestic phone calls. Sponsored by Time Warner Cable.

8:15 p.m. HISTORICAL HOME & HOLIDAY LIGHT TOUR

Take a ride down memory lane as you are driven around town on a tour of the history and beauty of some of Crete’s most interesting houses. You must secure your place by calling Lori at 402.826.8226. The cost is $5. Space is limited.

 

• Saturday, Dec. 7

8 - 11 a.m. BREAKFAST WITH SANTA - Crete High School

Visit Santa and enjoy a FREE nutritious breakfast. Sponsored by Crete FBLA & Public Health Solutions District Health Department. Purchase homemade goods at the Crete Area Medical Center Ladies Auxiliary bake sale and gift drawing. Kids can shop for mom and dad at the Beta Sigma Phi Children’s Gift Shop in the high school media center.

11 a.m. HOLIDAY STORY HOUR - Crete Public Library

Enjoy FREE holiday stories, crafts and snacks. Recommended for ages 3 - 8. Sponsored by Friends of the Crete Public Library.

9 a.m. - 3 p.m. HOLIDAY ARTS & CRAFT SHOW - Tuxedo Park/Expo Building

Start your holiday shopping early at the Crete Chamber of Commerce’s annual arts and crafts show.

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. WINTER FUN IN THE PARK - City Park (Music and other entertainment will now be in the Exhibition Building at Tuxedo Park)

Horse and carriage rides (FREE), international tree display, food vendors, and more.  Sponsored by Doane College, Nestle Purina Pet Care Company, Pinnacle Bank, Union Bank, Crete Sertoma Club, Crete Rotary and Crete True Value.

10 a.m. - 2 p.m. PHONE HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS - City Hall

Reach out to your family near and far this holiday season by making FREE international & domestic phone calls. Sponsored by Time Warner Cable.

2 p.m. HOLIDAY MOVIE: “HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS” - Isis Theatre

Free will donation: a can of food, new mittens or hat, cash for Crete Cares. Sponsored by Bunge Milling and the Isis Theater. Seating is limited.

2 p.m. 5K JINGLE BELL JOG - Doane College Cross Country Course

Jingle Bells will be provided for your sneakers while hot cocoa and goodies will await you at the finish line! Admission is $10 or $5 with a hygiene product to be donated to Tiger Paw Care and Share. Visit: https://sites.google.com/a/doane.edu/the-jingle-bell-jog/home to register.

2 - 9 p.m. CELEBRATE CRETE PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST SHOWING - Doane College, Perry Campus Center/Nyrop Hall

Entry forms available at local businesses or by contacting Bob Muckel at 402.643.0255. Sponsored by Doane College.

6 p.m. HISTORICAL HOME AND HOLIDAY LIGHT TOUR

Take a ride down memory lane as you are driven around town on a tour of the history and beauty of some of Crete’s most interesting houses. You must secure your place by calling Lori at 402.826.8226. The cost is $5. Space is limited.

 

• Sunday, Dec. 8

11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. COMMUNITY SOUP LUNCHEON - Crete High School

Enjoy home-cooked soup and goodies and help raise funds for Crete Cares (free will donation). Sponsored by the Crete Ministerial Association.

1 - 4 p.m. GREEN HOLIDAY FESTIVAL - Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center (3 miles south of Denton)

Enjoy warm beverages, sweet treats and live music while learning how to make eco-friendly, alternative gift and packaging ideas for FREE. No registration needed. Contact Chris at 402.797.2301 for more information.

1:30 p.m. WINTERLUDE WALK & KIDS' NATURE ACTIVITIES - Tuxedo Park

Bring the family out to enjoy the fresh air and explore Crete’s newest trail system at Tuxedo Park for FREE. Sponsored by Crete Youth in Governance Team.

2 p.m. WINTERLUDE GOLF OPEN - College Heights Country Club

Contact Cliff at 402.826.4653 to purchase tickets or for more information. Cost is $10 and includes golf as well as dinner. Limited to the first 100 participants.

Printable Winterlude Schedule (PDF)