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Downtown for the Holidays usher in Christmas for Sioux City

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Ragen Cote may be making a list and checking it twice. But she isn't finding out who's naughty or nice. 

The Downtown Partners executive director has actually been been busy, getting ready for the holidays.

"I've been planning for the Downtown for the Holidays parade since September," Cote said with a weary smile. "It is a bin undertaking."

That's because Monday's Lighted Downtown for the Holidays Parade has become the informal start of the Christmas season in Sioux City.

However, the fun starts a few hours before the parade does.

Beginning at 3 p.m., LaunchPAD Children's Museum, 623 Pearl St., will waive admission fees in exchange for a donation of hand warmers, socks or travel-sized toiletries for the Warming Shelter. 

"There will be plenty of kind-friendly activities going on at the Children's Museum as well as at the Sioux City Public Library (529 Pierce St.)," Cote said.

If you want to warm up a bit, Evolve Yoga, 411 Pear St., will be offering hot chocolate. 

Chances are you'll need a steamy beverage prior to the start of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 231's annual Holiday Lighted Parade, starting at 6:15 p.m. on Fourth and Iowa Street, ending on Nebraska Street.

"This year's parade may be the biggest one in our history," Cote said. "We already have more than 50 entries and will, no doubt, be getting many more."

If you need to nosh as the parade roll on by, Hardline Coffee Co., 515 Fourth St., and the Sioux City Convention Center, 801 Fourth St., will have festive treats for sake while RE/MAX Preferred stocking caps, free of charge, near Fourth and Jones Streets.

Once the parade ends, Santa Claus will hold court at Santa's House, which is located, this year, at 422 Pierce St.

While Santa's House, which is sponsored by UnityPoint Health - St. Luke's, has been going on for the past 34 Christmases, this will be the 29th year for the Festival of Trees.

Visitors may vote for their favorite holiday trees, beginning at 6 p.m., inside the Ho-Chunk Centre atrium, 600 Fourth St. A live auction, conducted by veteran auctioneer Bruce Brock, will take place at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 1, with the proceeds going to the Siouxland Foster Closet.

New this year will be a slate of holiday movies at Promenade Cinema 14, 924 Fourth St., from Dec, 1 - 12, with ticket sales benefiting the Food Bank of Siouxland.

"During the holidays, everyone is in a charitable mood," Cote said. "There are so many nonprofits that use your help."

For instance, the Holiday Storefront Decorating Competition is an opportunity for businesses and nonprofits to transform downtown spaces into beautiful displays.

"People will be able to vote for their favorite space between Nov. 21 and Dec. 26 at downtownsiouxcity.com," Cote said. "The winner will receive a $500 donation for their nonprofit."

Everybody will become winners at the Small Business Marketplace, located on first floor if Bluebird Flats Apartments, 520 Nebraska St.

"More than 20 small, locally owned businesses will be at Bluebird Flats on Nov. 26, Dec. 3, 10 and 17," Cote said. "It will be a great opportunity to pick up unique items while shopping local."

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