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Celebrate on Central

Shag the Drag collects donations for Lord's Cupboard

Last Christmas, Linette Nelson realized she and her family weren’t going to be able to participate in some of their usual traditions due to COVID, so she wanted to find an alternative to allow a safe but festive season.

“It started last year with COVID and realizing that our kids weren’t going to be able to see our Santa that they normally see at the mall. My 17-year-old son had his picture taken with that Santa every year. It kind of hit us all hard that we weren’t going to have that opportunity,” said Nelson.

Nelson reached out to Mayor Matt Bemrich, Amanda Peart with Personal Expressions Art and Hair Studio, and Santa himself to put together last year’s Shag the Drag Christmas event.

Nelson said this year she wanted to do the event again and make it even better, so she reached out to the Triton Kids singers at Iowa Central Community College and Lighthouse Ministries to have carolers for Tuesday’s version.

Shiny Top Brewing and the Elkhorn Early Birds 4-H group joined forces to hand out hot chocolate and cookies. Peart had a food drive set up at Personal Expressions Art and Hair Studio with the Grinch, Rudolf, and Olaf.

Peart said she’s done food drives for the Lord’s Cupboard before and it’s a special event for her. “My mom did volunteer work with the Lord’s Cupboard and I only helped a few times but that just really inspired me because just watching the effort that it takes. We collect for an hour, but it’s going to take us another couple hours to sort through it all and get it ready,” she said. “Moving my business downtown last year made me realize even through the pandemic, I’m very fortunate to be able to stay open and to have a job and to have my family and have what I have, and I just wanted to do something that I could give back. I try to think of what’s going to have the biggest impact on the community that we could do.”

Event-goers could drive down Central Avenue Tuesday evening and enjoy the lights, drop off donations for the Lord’s Cupboard with the Grinch, pick up some hot cocoa, listen to the carolers, and wave to Santa. Nelson said they stayed busy for the majority of the event.

“It was bumper to bumper for the first half-hour. It’s slowed down a lot here in the last 20 minutes but we still have stragglers coming through,” she said.

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