Christmas by the Lake

Christmas by the Lake: Clear Lake’s Magical Holiday Festival

Dates: December 2-3, 2023

Christmas by the Lake LogoWelcome to the Award-Winning Christmas by the Lake in Clear Lake, Iowa: Join us in celebrating the holiday spirit at Clear Lake’s Christmas by the Lake event, a holiday festival that’s won several regional and statewide awards. Spanning the first weekend in December, this family-friendly festival promises a fun-filled variety of activities for all ages. Come to Clear Lake and create cherished holiday memories with your loved ones.


Festival Highlights:

Thursday, November 30th:

  • Lights on 5K (5:30 PM)
    One Vision’s Kinney-Lindstrom Center (1200 N 9th St W)
    Kick off the festivities with One Vision’s 11th Annual Lights on 5K Run/Walk. Participants are encouraged to dress in festive costumes and lights. All proceeds from registrations and donations are used to buy holiday gifts for individuals with disabilities supported by One Vision. Register today at and support a great cause.
  • Candy Cane Fun Run (5:45 PM)
    One Vision’s Kinney-Lindstrom Center (1200 N 9th St W)
    Kids will have a chance to run with Santa and Mrs. Claus along the North Drive of One Vision’s main campus. Every participant will receive a commemorative medal to celebrate their achievement. Register at

Friday, December 1st:

  • Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony (5:30 PM)
    Clear Lake City Park Bandshell
    Join us to kick off Christmas by the Lake weekend with a tree lighting ceremony in City Park.
  • Christmas with The Nelsons (Doors open at 7 PM)
    Surf Ballroom (460 North Shore Dr)
    Catch the holiday spirit at the Surf! Christmas with the Nelsons tells the story of three family Christmases in the lives of America’s First Family of Entertainment, the Nelsons! Fresh off securing two Top 10 Billboard Christmas singles in the last two years, Matthew and Gunnar bring their award winning talent to the stage. This heart-warming multi-media live concert stars the third generation of No. 1 Nelson family hitmakers, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson. A genuine blend of Everly Brothers-style harmonies and Smothers Brothers-style comedy, multi-platinum recording artists Matthew and Gunnar have been thrilling sellout audiences worldwide for the past decade with their Ricky Nelson Remembered show…and they’ve got a new gift for you to open. Tickets are $30 advance, $35 at the door and can be purchased at

Saturday, December 2nd:

  • Holiday Photo Opportunity (All Day)
    Clear Lake City Park Bandshell
    Snag a photo in front of a perfect Christmas backdrop. Sponsored by The Globe Gazette.
  • Breakfast with Santa (7:30-10 AM)
    St. Patrick’s Catholic Church (1101 9th Ave S)
    Presented by the Knights of Columbus along with the Boy Scouts. Enjoy pancakes, sausage, milk, juice, and coffee provided by Cabin Coffee! $5 per person, no advance ticket sales, pay at the door. Santa will be available from 7:30-9:30 AM for photos.
  • Holiday Bake Sale & Crafts (8:30 AM-12:30 PM)
    United Methodist Church (508 2nd Ave N)
    Discover unique holiday gifts and treats–cookies, candies, breads, crafts, books and holiday decorations.
  • Holiday Bazaar & Vendor Market (9 AM-3 PM)
    Clear Lake Middle School (1601 3rd Ave N)
    Wind through rows of your favorite vendors in the Clear Lake Middle School gymnasium. Enjoy donuts and coffee in the morning and a sloppy joe meal deal for $5 in the afternoon. Don’t miss the bake sale and door prizes. All proceeds from the bake sale will benefit Model UN and the High School ‘s Washington D.C. trip.
  • C.A.R.E.S. Christmas by the Lake BINGO (10 AM-3 PM)
    VFW (219 Main Ave)
    Join the C.A.R.E.S. team for a festive round of BINGO. Proceeds help create a safe and memorable prom night for Clear Lake students.
  • “The Christmas Story” Indoor Nativity Scene Displays (10 AM-3 PM)
    Clear Lake Regular Baptist Church (314 N 6th St)
    Experience the magic of hundreds of nativity scene displays. As you examine the intricate details of each scene, enjoy free cookies, cider, and coffee.
  • Pizza & Photos with the Grinch & Cindy Lou Who (10AM-3PM)
    Lakeview Room (10 N Lakeview Drive)
    Meet the iconic Grinch and the adorable Cindy Lou Who for an unforgettable photo opportunity and pizza. All proceeds benefit the Clear Lake Dance Team.
  • Holiday Mini Art Market (10 AM-3 PM)
    Clear Lake Arts Center (17 S 4th St)
    The mini art market with showcase several local artists featuring one-of-a-kind ornaments and holiday gifts.
  • Hot Chocolate Bar (10 AM-5 PM)
    Clear Lake Public Library (200 N 4th St)
    Enjoy a hot chocolate bar in library lobby.
  • Teen and Adult Ornament Crafting Station (10 AM-5 PM)
    Clear Lake Public Library (200 N 4th St)
    Head upstairs in the library to make your very own ornament.
  • Prince & Princess Crowning (10:15 AM)
    Clear Lake Bank & Trust (322 Main Avenue)
    Join us as we crown 2023’s Christmas by the Lake Prince and Princess. Click here to register your 3-5-year-old for the contest. Sponsored by The Other Place.
  • Story Time for Ages 3-6 (2 Sessions: 10:30 AM & 11:30 AM)
    Clear Lake Public Library (200 N 4th St)
  • Family Matinee Viewing of the Movie Elf (11 AM)
    Lake Theatre (4 N 4th St)
    Make a non-perishable food item or cash donation to the the food bank for free admission to this matinee showing of Elf. Sponsored by Wilcox Furniture.
  • Live Cello and Piano (11 AM-1 PM)
    Holistic Harmony (313 N 8th St)
    Stop in for a tea latte and enjoy beautiful live cello and piano music that may bring a tear to your eye.
  • Christmas Around the World Program (1PM)
    Clear Lake Public Library (200 N 4th St)
    Join Clear Lake Public Library historian, Cindy Richardson, in the library meeting room to learn about how other countries celebrate Christmas and get a taste of their traditions.
  • Christmas Karaoke & S’mores (1-4 PM)
    Zion Dock Overhang (500 Main Avenue)
    Join Mojo Productions and show off your singing skills. Don’t forget to enjoy a delicious s’more. Sponsored by Mediacom.
  • CLHS Choir Carolers (1-4 PM)
    Downtown Main Avenue
    Enjoy our local choir as they spread joy and a festive spirit through the magic of song.
  • FSB Warming House (1-4 PM)
    Farmers State Bank (210 1st Ave N)
    Get out of the cold and enjoy warm drinks and popcorn inside Farmers State Bank.
  • Hayrack Rides (1-4 PM)
    Boarding locations: Wilcox Furniture (418 Main Ave) and Ge-Jo’s (12 N 3rd St)
    Enjoy a fun hayrack ride around Clear Lake’s downtown district. You can also pet friendly horses outside Wilcox Furniture! Sponsored by Farmers State Bank and Dean Snyder Construction.
  • Petting Zoo & Pony Rides (1-4 PM)
    Clear Lake City Park
    Pet your favorite furry friend or take a spin on a small pony ride. Sponsored by Fareway and NTI, Ltd.
  • Visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus (1-4 PM & 6-7 PM)
    Santa’s House in Clear Lake City Park
    Tell Santa exactly what’s on your Christmas list. Don’t forget to snag a photo!
  • Professor Von Air Balloon Artist (1-4 PM)
    Zion on Main (500 Main Avenue)
    Have Professor Von Air make the perfect balloon creation for your little one.
  • Zion on Main Activities (1-4 PM)
    Zion on Main (500 Main Avenue)
    The Hub: Activities sponsored by the North Iowa Children’s Museum
    The Gym: 9 Square & Gaga Ball
    The Blackbox: Entertainment
    The Dock: Warming House & Inflatables
  • Elementary-Aged Kids Grab & Go Craft Packet (1-5 PM)
    Clear Lake Public Library (200 N 4th St)
  • Lighted Parade and Spectacular Fireworks Finale (5:07 PM)
    Clear Lake Main Avenue & Seawall
    The lighted parade begins at 8th Street & Main Avenue and will travel toward the lake, turning north along N Lakeview Drive. The Fireworks display will begin after the parade. Click here for the parade application.

Sunday, December 3rd:

  • Family Matinee, The Grinch (11 AM)
    Lake Theatre (4 N 4th St)
    Make a non-perishable food item or cash donation to the the food bank for free admission to this matinee. Sponsored by CLB&T Insurance.
  • Polar Bear Plunge presented by Clear Lake Jaycees (10:30 AM-1:30 PM)
    Clear Lake City Beach
    10:30 AM: Check-in/Registration and pre-party for Plungers at the VFW in Clear Lake. All participants will receive a BOGO token to enjoy a cocktail or beer.
    12:00 PM: Check-in/Registration moves to the Yacht Club
    12:30 PM: Plungers take the plunge!
    1:00 PM: Warming Party at Tap’d (Tap’d will have a band and all participants will receive a BOGO token to enjoy a cocktail or beer at the party.)
    Warming tents will be onsite to change afterwards. When you check-in, you can provide your team name in order to be announced to plunge together. Fun costumes or outfits encouraged but not required. Registration is a donation to the local Toys for Tots + Clear Lake Kids & Families In Need Fund. A minimum donation of $50 will get you 2023 Polar Bear Plunge Long Sleeved Shirt. Want the sweet shirt but not wanting to fully commit to jumping in the lake? Join our Toe Dippers Club. You still get the swag, still get to attend the pre-party/post-party, still get the cold sensation with a tip of your foot, and our charities still get your support, its win-win-win. If you would like to donate and not dip, feel free to Venmo us at @ClearLake-Jaycees. Click Here to register.
  • Visit with Santa & Mrs. Claus (1-4 PM)
    Santa’s House in City Park
    Tell Santa exactly what’s on your Christmas list. Don’t forget to snag a photo.

Why Visit Christmas by the Lake?

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

Stay updated!

For the latest schedule updates and event details, visit our website frequently. Don’t miss out on any of the holiday fun at Clear Lake’s Christmas by the Lake!

Join Us for a Magical Holiday Experience!

Clear Lake, Iowa: Your Home for the Holidays

Presenting Sponsors

Clear Lake Bank & Trust
Pritchard Family Auto Store Logo
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Christmas Parade Aerial Photo by Chris Barragy
Christmas Parade Float Photo by Whitney Hill

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