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WATCH NOW: Bringing holiday cheer to downtown Sioux City takes work of many volunteers
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WATCH NOW: Bringing holiday cheer to downtown Sioux City takes work of many volunteers

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Decorating downtown

Robert Sopher, left, and Brad Reiling, employees of Earl May Nursery and Garden Center's Gordon Drive location in Sioux City, attach a red bow around a planter box on Jackson Street in downtown Sioux City on Nov. 16. The two are among the volunteers decorating Downtown Partners' planters. 

SIOUX CITY -- There are exactly 51 different outdoor pots around downtown Sioux City. 

Downtown Partners executive director Ragen Cote, along with a handful of volunteers from Earl May Garden Center, knows the exact location of each and every one of these concrete posts.

"Each Christmas, we place ribbons around every pot and decorate it with something festive," she explained. "It is to get people in the mood for the holidays."

In addition to hanging ribbons around planters, Cote will instruct her team of volunteer elves with transforming downtown into a winter wonderland.

For instance, a crew from Clear View Window Cleaning are given the task of hanging decorative wreaths from the exterior of the skywalk system while the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local 231, makes sure that each lightbulb on Downtown Partners Christmas tree, located in outside of the Sioux City Public Museum, 607 4th St., shines brightly.

Sheryl Schelm, manager of Earl May's Gordon Drive location, shows how to decorate a small container with greenery during a demonstration at the Sioux City, Iowa, store Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.

"Literally, it takes dozens of people to bring out the Christmas spirit in downtown," Cote said. 

Most of the work is completed in the first few weekends in November.

"Every once in a while, people will say the Christmas stuff is going up too soon," Cote said with a sigh. "Halloween is barely over before we're decorating our big Christmas tree."

However, she admitted there is a method to this madness.

"We'd rather do all of this on a nice day in early November than a snowy one in December," Cote reasoned.

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Makes sense. And so does scheduling the majority of the decorating on the weekends.

"We used to have volunteers come out on a weekday," Cote said. "We soon realized that most people work during the week while their weekends may be free."

"If we can get many volunteers decorating at the same time, things will be easier for everybody involved," she added.

Easy is preferable, especially this year.

"COVID-19 has required so many changes," Cote said. 

In person, you can admire all of the decorative touches in each of downtown's concrete planters.

"Well, I can tell you where each of the 51 planters are located," Cote said, smiling.

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