Afton's Village Holiday, a two-day, old-fashioned festive celebration, will take place Dec. 6-7 in the city's historic downtown.

Candlelight Night will run from 5-9 p.m. on Dec. 6. Afton's charming village will light up with torches and candles for a romantic evening. Horse and wagon rides, strolling carolers from River Falls High School, wine tasting, bonfires, a historic tour and holiday shopping discounts throughout Afton's unique shops are included in the evening's events.

Family Day will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 7. Kids can enjoy breakfast and photos with Santa Claus, crafts, storytelling, and face painting; horse and wagon rides, strolling carolers from Hudson and White Bear Lake high schools and the Afton Elves.

All guests are invited to donate warm (waterproof preferred) hats and mittens to benefit children in need. Collection is on behalf of Donation drop off is at Baglio's of Afton.


Vocal ensemble pays tribute to Brubeck

The Welcome Christmas 2013 concert series, featuring the vocal stylings of Vocal­Essence Chorus, will make a stop in Stillwater on Dec. 7.

The series, which runs the weekends of Dec. 6-8 and Dec. 13-15 at locations in Minneapolis, Edina and Apple Valley, will find the 130-member vocal ensemble paying tribute to legendary jazz musician Dave Brubeck and his Latin-influenced Christmas cantata "La Fiesta de la Posada." The ensemble, featuring pianist Dan Chouinard and local mariachi band Mariachi Mi Tierra, will recreate the piece. The show will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, 115 N. 4th St.

Tickets range from $20-40 and can be purchased in person or by calling 612-371-5656 or 800-292-4141. Discount tickets are available for students.

For more information, visit

Chorale to present Christmas concert

"Lessons and Carols for the 21st Century," a Christmas concert by the Valley Chamber Chorale, will be performed four times on Dec. 13-15 at the Washington County Historic Courthouse, 101 W. Pine St., Stillwater.

Through words and music, ancient and modern, sacred and secular, this concert will look at Christmas through a new lens — the spoken word. Featured guest will be John Potter, actor/reader/director who will bring to life these words.

For these concerts the VCC commissioned a new work from Zebulon Highben, a young composer now based in Ohio, although he spent a number of years in Minnesota. He is director of choral activities and assistant professor of music at Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio. Also joining the Chorale will be instrumentalists Sarah Grudem (harp), Jane Strauman (flute) and Anna Vazquez (cello).

Individual (season tickets are also available) ticket prices for the concert are $40 each for adults and $35 each for seniors and students, and can be ordered at For more information, call 651-430-0124.

marine on st. croix

Learn how to weave baskets at state park

Lea Rasmussen, a local basket weaver, will teach how to make a beautiful wine or letter basket that can be used for all seasons during a class from 6-10 p.m. on Dec. 6 at William O'Brien State Park, 16821 O'Brien Trail N., Marine on St. Croix.

The cost is $25 and includes all materials and hands-on instruction. The class is limited, so please call the park to reserve your spot at 651-433-0500.


Concert will benefit typhoon victims

The Cultural Society of Filipino Americans (CSFA) will host a concert to benefit the victims of Typhoon Haiyan that tore through the Philippines earlier this month, leaving nearly 4,000 people dead and devastating vast swaths of the country. More than 1,600 people are still listed as missing.

The free event will be held from 3-6 p.m. on Nov. 24 at Guardian Angels Church, at 8260 4th St. N. in Oakdale, and will feature live music, Filipino food, a bake sale and silent auction.

Eventgoers are urged to make donations to the CSFA Typhoon Haiyan fund at the event or by stopping at any Wells Fargo branch. CSFA says it will match all donations up to $3,000. Donations of emergency supplies will also be accepted at various locations across the Twin Cities metro area, including Spirit Tae Kwon Do, 655 Fairview Av. N., St Paul; the Philippine Center of Minnesota, 1380 Frost Av., Maplewood; and Ligaya Carlos, 13516 Cromwell Av., Rosemount.

For more information, call 651-243-2732, e-mail, or visit

Cottage Grove

Turkey pardon part of Thanksgiving 5K

For years the official White House Thanksgiving turkey has received a presidential pardon. This year, Cottage Grove will join in the lighthearted fun when Mayor Myron Bailey will pardon Fatty Bird, the official Hale to the Bird 5K mascot, kicking off the start of the annual Thanksgiving Day race.

Now in its fourth year, the Hale to the Bird 5K raises money for the Friends in Need Food Shelf, which serves residents in Cottage Grove, Newport, St. Paul Park and Grey Cloud Island Township.

The event will take place on Thursday, Nov. 28, at Cottage Grove's Hamlet Park, 8883 Hamlet Road, with registration and check-in at 8 a.m. The mayoral pardon takes place at 8:45 a.m. and the race starts at 9 a.m. Nonperishable items or cash donations for the food shelf will be accepted before the race begins.

The cost is $30 for ages 13 and older, $10 for ages 12 and under. Awards will be given to first and second male and female finishers.

To register, visit (you do not need a Facebook account to register) or, search "Hale to the Bird."

Jim Anderson, Libor Jany