This year's Holiday Stroll featured, among other things, a Santa's workshop, lighted parade and, a Nativity scene. The Marshalltown Central Business District sponsors the holiday event, which boasted hundreds of participants Saturday evening.
Business owners played host to strollers, filling their stomachs with cookies, candy and hot cider as they perused the wares in boutiques along Main Street.
At the Nativity scene, sponsored by Quakerdale Ranch, MaKhiley Rosalez, 9, crouched near a miniature pony named Bentley - named because his front two legs are bent. MaKhiley picks up a handful of straw and fed it to Bentley.
T-R PHOTO BY DAVID ALEXANDER
The Nativity scene at the corner of Second and Main Streets is shown here Saturday. The scene, sponsored by Quakerdale Ranch, was part of this year’s Holiday Stroll.
"You can pet him," Mary Cox, a volunteer at the live Nativity scene, told another little boy looking on. "You can go see the baby Jesus in the manger."
At Santa's workshop, Aubree Lindbloom, 6, and her sister Summer, 7, hopped on Jolly Saint Nick's lap. Santa's Helpers, staff from the Times-Republican, and the girls' aunt begin snapping photos.
"And what do you want for Christmas," Santa asks.
"I don't know," Summer tells the rosy-nosed man. "There are so many things out there."
Farther west along Main Street, the scent of kettle corn filled the courthouse lawn. The glow of the lights strung around the trees painted the backdrop of the evening with a whimsical luminescence.
Men lined up during the Lumberjack Contest, which offered a chance to win a chainsaw by being the quickest to saw off a segment of wood affixed to a large saw horse.
Michael Dorothy, 26, of Marshalltown, tore into the wood with the saw. A cloud of saw dust floats around him. The saw slips. He curses. The man with the timer encourages him.
"Still only a minute," he tells him, indicating that Michael is still doing well on time.
Afterward, Michael looks on, breathing heavily, as the next man tries.
In the street, a horse-drawn carriage clops by, full of strollers admiring the view. It passes by a group of carolers from Hope United Methodist Church near the corner of Main Street and First Avenue.
"Oh come all ye faithful," they sing in unison while onlookers stand nearby soaking in the harmony.
Dan Speese, 30, of Marshalltown, said he brought his wife and daughter out to enjoy the festivities because they had some friends participating, and they wanted to show support. His favorite part was the countdown to the lighting of the trees on the courthouse lawn.
"That was pretty neat," he said.
He said he's bringing the family back next year.