The lighted parade makes it’s way through downtown Clear Lake to the lakeshore. Photo by Chris Barragy

Step into the winter wonderland of Clear Lake, Iowa and celebrate the holiday season at our acclaimed Christmas by the Lake event. Over the first weekend in December, this festival promises a mix of family-friendly activities against the backdrop of a beautiful lake and a charming town. Let’s dive into the magical lineup that makes this event a memorable experience for all. For a full schedule, visit our events page.

Festival Highlights:

Thursday, November 30th: Lights on 5K & Candy Cane Fun Run
Kick off the joyous occasion with One Vision’s Lights on 5K Run/Walk and Candy Cane Fun Run. Dress in your festive best and support a great cause while enjoying the holiday spirit.

Friday, December 1st: Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony & Christmas with The Nelsons
Experience the magic of the season at City Park Bandshell for a new addition to the festival: a traditional Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. Later, head to the Surf Ballroom for “Christmas with The Nelsons,” a heartwarming concert by the award-winning duo Matthew and Gunnar Nelson.

Saturday, December 2nd: A Day Packed with Festive Fun!
From Breakfast with Santa to a Holiday Bazaar & Vendor Market at Clear Lake Middle School, the day is filled with activities for all ages. Highlights include a petting zoo, pony rides, Merry-oke Holiday Karaoke & s’mores, and a balloon artist. Don’t miss the indoor nativity scene displays, pizza & photos with the Grinch, BINGO, holiday matinee, and a Hot Chocolate Bar and special “Christmas around the World” program at the Clear Lake Public Library, and a visit with Santa! The magical day concludes with a lighted parade along Main Avenue and breathtaking fireworks finale over the lake.

There are so many activities brought to you by our Christmas by the Lake committee and local groups & organizations, check our full schedule for all the details.

Sunday, December 4th: Polar Bear Plunge & More
Wrap up the weekend with a thrilling Polar Bear Plunge at Clear Lake City Beach, presented by the Clear Lake Jaycees. Brace yourself for a chilly dip, or join the Toe Dippers Club for a more tempered experience. The day also includes a Family Matinee at Lake Theatre and another chance to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in City Park.

Why Visit Christmas by the Lake?
  • Family-Friendly Fun: From petting zoos to visits with Santa, there’s something for everyone.
  • Local Culture: Experience Clear Lake’s unique blend of holiday traditions and modern entertainment.
  • Stunning Scenery: Enjoy the beauty of a frozen lake and the charm of our decorated town.

Christmas by the Lake is more than an event; it’s a magical tradition that brings the community together in the spirit of joy and togetherness. Don’t miss out on this holiday festival—it’s the perfect way to celebrate the season with your family and friends. Let the festivities begin!