MUSCATINE, Iowa–Most years, Island United Methodist Church has started out November with their Holiday Festival. Though the COVID-19 pandemic put this annual tradition on hold for two years, organizers plan to bring it back Nov. 5 at Island Methodist Church at 2598 Stewart Road in Muscatine, kicking off this year’s holiday season.
The morning of the festival will start off with the Country Store, which opens at 10 a.m. A prime opportunity to shop for hand crafted items to bring home or give as gifts, shoppers will enjoy browsing knitted and crocheted items, such as scarves, ponchos, and even a bed spread; unique holiday decorations and home décor; baked goods including cookies, cakes, pies, candies, and breads; and canned items like horseradish.
Between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., visitors to the festival can enjoy a freshly made meal with hot turkey sandwiches, loose meat hamburgers, Kalona Noodles, many types of salads, and desserts (including sugar free options) for people to choose from. Diners may make a freewill donation of any amount for their meal.
At 1:30 p.m., a live auction will round out the days events. Featuring beautiful pieces, such as handmade quilts, sure to grow into treasured family heirlooms, the auction typically draws quite a crowd. Other items auctioned off include embroidered pieces, hand done wreaths, and other specially made decorations. Led by auctioneers Russ and Lydia Lamp along with Don Dickey, Holiday Festival organizer Maggie Curry knows everyone who attends will have a good time. She said of the auctioneers: “they know a lot of the people and they personalize the selling of the items. It is always a fun time.”
The proceeds from the Island United Methodist Church Holiday Festival will benefit not only the church itself but the various outreach programs it operates. From running their clothing closet and the Lighthouse Food Pantry to providing volunteers to help with disaster assistance both locally and in nearby states such as Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri, the money raised by the Holiday Festival will support both the local community and people in need elsewhere in the year to come.
A great time for area residents to come together and start getting ready for the holidays, Curry feels encouraged that Island United Methodist Church can hold its Holiday Festival in person once again. “It is always a pleasant time when people are able to visit with each other, especially since not being together for two years,” she shared. “The food is wonderful, and it is always nice to enjoy a homemade meal with friends.”
With this year’s Holiday Festival just around the corner, Curry hopes to see many people, both longtime attendees and newcomers, give this year’s gathering a try. “With this being an annual event, folks want to be sure and get it on their calendars; a lot of them look forward to it,” Curry emphasized: “The meal is very affordable and delicious. Some people don’t bake or make the candies for the holidays, so they want to be sure and get some goodies to share with others.”