A big annual festival will take place in the Amana Colonies this weekend! Prelude to Christmas will kick off Friday, December 1st and run through Sunday, December 3rd.

Prelude to Christmas is "a magical weekend with special events and food/beverage sampling in the shops, carolers on the street, and the town decked out in Christmas finery." All three days of the festival are packed with different activities for the entire family! Here are some of the things to look forward to:

Tannenbaum Forest

The Tannenbaum Forest takes place inside the Festhalle Barn and features more than 60 decorated Christmas trees and a 17-foot German Christmas Pyramid. There is also an ornament craft station for the kids, as well as a special mailbox for letters to Santa. And speaking of Santa, he will be inside the Tannenbaum Forest for photo ops on December 1st and 2nd from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and December 3rd from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admission to the Tannenbaum Forest is free, but visitors are encouraged to make a free will donation to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. It will be open December 1st and 2nd from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and December 3rd from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Amana Church Holiday Bazaar & Cookie Walk

Shoppers will find homemade pastries, bread, jam, salsa, pickles, fudge, home decor, ornaments, needlework, and more at the Amana Church Holiday Bazaar. It will run December 1st from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and December 2nd from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Amana Church Cookie Walk will begin on December 2nd at 10 a.m., with registration starting at 9 a.m. Here's how it works:

"...every 15 minutes, a group of 20-30 patrons fill a cookie box (provided) that holds 5-6 dozen cookies and treats. Proceeds benefit the Amana Church free youth bible camp and activities open to all area youth."

Holiday Haus Tour

Prelude to Christmas guests can tour "beautifully decorated Amana homes and buildings" on December 1st from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and December 2nd from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are $15 each and can be purchased at each home on the tour or at the Gallery on Main. You can check out a full list of tour locations HERE.


A German & English Christmas Carol Singalong will take place at 6 p.m. on December 1st! It will start at the Amana Heritage Museum and travel to the Festhalle Barn.

Wine Pairing Flights

All weekend long, Ackerman Winery will offer Christmas Cookie & Wine Pairing Flights for only $10, as well as festive wine cocktails. The fully-decorated family fun room will have a Christmas movie playing for shoppers, and there is also a Nutcracker Scavenger Hunt. Find 18 of the 36 nutcrackers hidden in the store and you will be entered into a drawing for a prize.

At Fireside Winery in the Village, they will offer Wine & Cheese Pairing Flights for $12, plus Soda & Potato Chip Flights for $5. Christmas Sangria will also be available.


The Amana Colonies have a TON of shops that are perfect for holiday shopping, and some of those shops will have extended hours throughout the weekend. Here are a few of the great places to look for gifts:

  • BumbleBooks
  • Catiri's Art Oasis
  • Warped & Woven Mill Mercantile
  • White Cross Cellars
  • Amana Meat Shop & Smokehouse
  • The Chocolate Haus
  • Amana General Store
  • Haus Maus Tees
  • Little Red Wagon Toy Store
  • The Noble Stone
  • Colony Cottage Bakery
  • Creative Colony

Check out a full list of shops HERE.

Blacksmith Class

Expert blacksmith Corey Nevitt will teach a blacksmith class at the Tinsmith Shop in West Amana on December 2nd and 3rd from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $200 per person (materials included) and you must register in advance HERE. The class is ages 18+, but minors accompanied by a parent/guardian may get special permission.

Prelude to Christmas in the Amana Colonies will be followed by other weekend events, including Children's Weekend from December 8th through 10th and Holiday Traditions Weekend from December 16th through 18th. You can check out the brochure for all of the December 2023 events in the Amana Colonies HERE.

Great Locally-Owned Shops in the Corridor to Buy Christmas Gifts

Gallery Credit: Courtlin

10 of the Most Unique Places to Stay in the State of Iowa

Gallery Credit: Courtlin

More From 98.1 KHAK