Danielle Schultz – Staff Writer
The Centre Mall hosts many weekend events in honor of the Christmas season. Free mini-train rides, opportunities to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus, and free kids’ movies at the Cinema 5 theatre are only some of these festivities.
On Saturday, the smell of freshly baked goods from Casey’s Bakery permeated throughout the mall, while the red and silver Christmas decorations glinted from the ceiling and the trees. Along with the main attractions, a colorful painting gallery featured beautiful canvases and a piano recital resulted in lively music.
The children provided the biggest part of the chaos. Their loud chatter and laughter bounced off the walls while they waited in line, rode the free mini train, or visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Their parents watched from a distance.
From the amount of people that gathered at the mall, it is obvious the citizens of Sioux Center delight in celebrating Christmas together.
“It’s a nice thing for the community,” said parents Brad and Andrea Wielenga, who have been taking their three girls to these festivities for five or six years now. “The kids always have fun,” they said. The girls’ favorite things to do are visit Santa and ride on the mini train.
Mike and Denise VanderBroek have been dressing up as Santa and Mrs. Claus for 20 years. While they were first asked by American State Bank, they soon gravitated toward the mall, which they now visit for a couple of weekends in December each year.
“Snuggling with kids [who have] no reason to leave” and holding babies are among some of the VanderBroeks’ favorite things about playing Santa and Mrs. Claus. According to Mike, a stop sign is the funniest thing a kid has ever asked for. The saddest is getting a dog back.
While many Dordt students are an active part of the Sioux Center community and participate in their own activities, some did not grow up celebrating Christmas with Santa.
“There was no importance in Santa,” said Jenna Mack, a sophomore at Dordt. She mentioned that her parents had not made Santa a big deal because they wanted the holiday to be focused on Jesus instead of a myth. “It doesn’t really build trust as parents,” Mack said.
Whether students grew up believing in Santa or not, Christmas festivities in the Sioux Center community will continue to unite both students and citizens. If students are looking for a good way to spend the weekend before finals, they should stop by the Centre Mall and take in some holiday cheer.