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Meander along Grand Monday night

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The night of Monday, Dec. 5 will mark the 25th observance of Grand Meander - and the start of the holiday season - along Spencer's Grand Avenue. Local stores will host scenes, hot drinks and holiday treats will be served, and musical entertainment provided by TubaChristmas will be featured.
(File photo)
A celebratory kickoff to the holiday season will commence Monday night with the annual Grand Meander tradition.

The downtown Spencer observance, which began in 1986, has always included live store window displays, a variety of entertainment for all ages, and the opportunity to socialize with fellow area residents.

"Kids and animals are the biggest draw, of course," Bob Rose, Spencer Chamber of Commerce and Spencer MainStreet executive director, said of the downtown window displays, which are on display from 6-8 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5.

The TubaChristmas experience was added to Spencer's holiday mix 11 years ago.

"This has continued to be a popular thing and a great addition to Grand Meander," Rose said. "If you haven't heard a tuba concert before, ... it's amazing. It's a different sound. Hopefully, if the weather is decent, we'll have 15-20 of the regulars and some of the local high school students who play the tuba."

The local TubaChristmas performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Bogenrief Studios. Kurt Schwarck, who will conduct the area tuba and euphonium players, will be joined by TubaChristmas guest conductor Alan Berdahl.

"Alan has done Sioux Falls' TubaChristmas for many years and has always been very gracious about coming over and helping us," Rose said. " ... At one time, we were the only one in Iowa. But, Estherville started one about five years ago and it seems to me there's one in central Iowa somewhere at various times during the holiday season."

Over the years, local artists' creation of ice sculptures has also been added to Spencer's Grand Meander tradition. Monday night, Perry Polson and Jim Schooley will sculpt blocks of ice outside their respective downtown businesses, Wild Wood and Toad's Coffee.

"We would encourage people to observe those," Rose said. "Because that takes a lot of talent and it's fun to watch it develop over the course of a couple hours. They actually transform a block of ice into a statue, a work of art."

The extended forecast is calling for cold temperatures Monday night. Warming stations, where people may warm up with a cup of hot chocolate, will be available at Nelson Jewelry, Indoor Archery, H&N Chevy Buick, White Drug, Electrolux, Spencer Sewing, and Cotton and Grave Farm Management.

"Over the years, we've only canceled one Grand Meander," Rose recalled. "And, that was because the weather conditions continued to deteriorate. It was somewhat icy and road conditions weren't good. It was cold and windy and we didn't want people out on the roads.

"So, cold and a little bit of snow is not going to bother us. If it's dangerous road conditions, then we have no choice. But, we're optimistic it's going to be good."

Grand Meander window attractions

Carroll's BakeryCarroll's Bakery
Spirit of Harmony Sweet AdelinesThe Wardrobe Building
Spencer BPWBeeHive Crafts and Framing
Spencer JayceesPizza Ranch north window
People for PetsMedlar Arts and Crafts
Telco TriadTelco Triad
Spencer Family ChurchSteffen Furniture
Iowa Egg CouncilThe Hen House outside
Just for KixMidwest Piano
Kiwanis After FiveSquire Shoppe
Ninth Street Baptist ChurchKari's
Iowa Great Lakes Kennel ClubCarey's Electronics
Spencer Family YMCAH&N Chevy Buick
Spencer Teacher AssociationWhite Glove
Spencer FFAPizza Ranch south window
Clay County 4-HOn Eagles Wings

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