News

Annual Christmas in Kalona event canceled

The line to visit Santa Claus stretched out the door of the Kalona Community Center at last year’s Christmas in Kalona celebration. (Union file photo)
The line to visit Santa Claus stretched out the door of the Kalona Community Center at last year’s Christmas in Kalona celebration. (Union file photo)
/

The annual Christmas in Kalona celebration has been canceled this year.

The Kalona Area Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that it is canceling the event, which was scheduled for Dec. 5.

“It really came down to the county’s (COVID) numbers going in the wrong direction,” Jody Drozd, chair of the Chamber’s Christmas in Kalona Committee, said Wednesday. “While we were planning over the past several months, we were hoping they would be going down by now.”

In the past, the celebration has included numerous family activities, including cookie decorating, games, carriage rides and a visit from Santa Claus.

Drozd said that the planning committee was trying to make adjustments to this year’s event due to the pandemic.

“It’s very heartbreaking,” she said. “We were trying to plan activities with social distancing in mind.

“We really wanted to do something to bring up everyone’s spirits.”

Drozd said that the additional restrictions put in place by Gov. Kim Reynolds Monday sealed the deal to cancel Christmas in Kalona.

“The governor’s new proclamation and mandates just puts a damper on it right now,” Drozd said.

Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said that the city supports the Chamber’s decision.

“I think the committee did a lot of work to come up with a good socially responsible event,” Schlabaugh said. “They just felt that this was not a good time to implement the program.

“It’s really unfortunate, but we understand why they made that decision.”