Nothing captures that festive feeling more evocatively than a wonderful Christmas Light Show, and Northeast Iowa boasts several professionally-run events which are well worth a visit. The towns of Dubuque, Elkader, Decorah and Oelwein all put on annual Christmas light shows of varying sizes and complexities.
Holiday Lights, Magical Nights takes place annually from 23 November through to 1 January and is held at Pulpit Rock Campground, Decorah (event phone; 563.387.1720). This year’s drive-thru display features lots of new displays as well as a chance for the kids to visit Santa who will give every lucky child a gift.
The lights are open from 17:30 to 20:30 and more details about opening nights and the event’s many generous sponsors are available at the Helping Services website at this link.
Proceeds from the Christmas Lights event will be used by Helping Services in their tireless work towards ending child abuse; domestic violence and to help build healthy families, relationships and friendships and to combat alcohol and drug abuse. You may make a donation if you wish at this time of year when their work is particularly poignant.
Another fantastic professional light show is the, Reflections in the Park: a Hillcrest Lights Festival, which you can see from 22 November through to 1 January. The event takes place at Louis Murphy Park, Grandview Avenue in Dubuque (event phone 563-583-7357). The lights are open from 17:00 to 22:00 and feature not only thousands of lights but also animated displays. The event is understandably extremely popular and over the course of the holiday season around 50,000 visitors are expected.
If you prefer something a little more low-key, Elkader puts on their professionally organised Christmas Moonlight Candle Drive display on 23 December every other year. The event is free and visitors can enjoy the stunning shop window displays together with glowing candles and pretty twinkling lights placed by local residents in the windows of their homes. This is a wonderfully understated community event which really sets the mood for Christmas.
And just to get you in the mood: