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CLEAR LAKE | A full weekend of holiday fun is returning to Clear Lake.

And it’s bound to leave an impression on children and adults in North Iowa, said Gene Madson, Christmas by the Lake Committee chairman.

“It’s something they’ll never forget,” he said.

The 24th annual Christmas by the Lake is Saturday and Sunday throughout Clear Lake and will feature some local favorites, like the Lighted Christmas by the Lake Parade and fireworks on Saturday, as well as some new offerings.

The event begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with a cookie walk, coffee and cinnamon rolls at United Methodist Church, 508 Second Ave. N. Then, there’s a holiday bazaar at the Senior Citizens Center, story time and a craft at the Clear Lake Public Library and indoor nativity scene displays at Clear Lake Regular Baptist Church.

The crowning of this year’s prince and princess is 11 a.m. at Clear Lake Bank & Trust.

Other events taking place Saturday are the horse-drawn carriage and Main Street Trolley rides, a craft show, s'mores for children, Christmas karaoke, a free 11 a.m. matinee at the Lake Theatre and strolling Dickens characters.

The events on Saturday conclude with the lighted parade at 5 p.m. and fireworks over the lake, which draw hundreds — if not thousands — of people each year.

Christmas by the Lake events continue on Sunday with the free 11 a.m. matinee at the Lake Theatre, Polar Bar Dip 12:30 p.m. at City Beach and Kids Treasure Hunt 1 p.m. at the Lakeview Room for children 12 and younger.

The festivities will conclude with the NordKor Children’s Choir Concert and Messiah Sing-along at 2 p.m. at United Methodist Church in Clear Lake, and Visit with Santa, which ends at 4 p.m.

Christmas by the Lake offers something for everyone, Madson said, which makes it a “great tradition” for families.

“Kids remember these things for years once they come to Christmas by the Lake,” he said.

The event is organized by a committee of about 15 people and has won several tourism awards for best holiday festival, according to the chamber.

The event generally goes on as planned unless bitterly cold temperatures or blizzard-like conditions occur, Madson said. During its first year in 1995, the festival was postponed for a week, but has gone on as scheduled every year since then. 

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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