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Rochester Christmas events: holiday concerts and more

All the early holiday happenings, from milk and cookies with Santa to jazzy Christmas concerts.

Santa Claus waits at the Rochester Fire Department begins to rescue him from the top of Old City Hall during the annual "Here Comes Santa Claus" and Peace Plaza tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, in downtown Rochester. (Traci Westcott /

Your Thanksgiving cutlery will barely have hit the table when Rochester swings into holly-jolly holiday mode.

The Christmas season begins with Santa sightings Friday, holiday markets Saturday, and concerts and parties to spare in the weeks following.

Here, we’ve compiled as many early Christmas events as we could find. Head to to see the most recent lists, updated regularly. And email with any parties, markets, or concerts we missed.


Fill Santa's Sleigh

Toys for Tots donation drive, plus carolers, milk and cookies, and letter-writing to Santa.

When: 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 1

Where: Scheels, Apache Mall, 1220 12th St. SW, Rochester

Cost: Free -- toy donation encouraged, but not required

Christmas Wreath Decorating Workshop

Bring your own (real or artificial) wreath, and personalize it with ribbons, bulbs, artificial greenery, etc. Limit of 10 participants.

When: 5:30-8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2

Where: Mantorville Art Guild, 521 N Main St., Mantorville

Cost: $40, register by emailing or calling 507-635-5665.


Tonic Sol-fa: The Greatest Holiday Show

Tonic Sol-fa: Shake Up Christmas Tour

Minneapolis-based a capella quartet returns to the Civic Center for a pop-music Christmas concert.

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2

Where: Mayo Civic Center, 30 Civic Center Drive, Rochester

Cost: $38,

Olde-Fashioned Christmas

Wagon rides, luminaries, cookie walk and lefse, Nordic Ice Castle, and more.

When: Various times, Dec. 3-4


Where: Plainview

More Information: Find the event on .

Gift-Quality Book & Bake Sale

Fundraiser for the Friends of the Library.

When: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3

Where: Rochester Public Library, 101 Second St. SE, Rochester

More Information:

Holiday Gift Fair

Local artists, crafters, and direct-sale businesses.

When: 12-6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3

Where: 125 LIVE, 125 Elton Hills Drive NW, Rochester

More Information: Email

The Wonder of the Nativity

The Wonder of the Nativity

Longest-running and largest annual display of nativity scenes and musical performances.

When: 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3; 3-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2300 Viola Heights Drive NE, Rochester

Cost: Free

Holiday Vinyl Night

Bring your own vinyl or find something to play from Rochester Records.

When: 5-10 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3

Where: Fiddlehead Coffee Co., 412 Third Ave. SE, Rochester

Cost: Free

A Bella Christmas Concert - Making Spirits Bright

Treble choirs Bella Voce and Bella Fiore perform holiday hits.

When: 7-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Dec. 3-4; 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5

Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 222 6th Ave. SW, Rochester

Cost: $20, at Trinity Lutheran Church

Davina and the Vagabonds

A Vagabond Holiday

Christmas show by jazz-blues band Davina & The Vagabonds.

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3

Where: Historic Paramount Theatre, 125 Fourth Ave. NE, Austin

Cost: $20,

Milk & Cookies with Santa

Community event sponsored by Chatfield Commercial Club.

When: 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: Community Room Chatfield Municipal Building, 21 SE Second St., Chatfield

More Information: .

Christmas Cookie Sale

Pre-packaged baked goods sold in one- or two-pound boxes. Signup required in advance: .

When: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: Presbyterian Church of Oronoco, 20 Third St. SW, Oronoco

Cost: $7 per pound

Holiday Market at the Barn

Crafters and home-based businesses, plus coffee and pastries.

When: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: Bearwood Event Barn, 5901 County Road 105, Byron

Cost: Free

Christmas Ornament Decorating

Area youth invited to decorate wooden ornaments.

When: 12-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: Mantorville Art Guild, 521 N Main St., Mantorville

Cost: Free

Sugar Plum Fairy Tea Party

Mini Nutcracker performance, food and drink, photo opportunity.

When: 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday. Dec. 4

Where: Rochester Civic Theatre, 30 Civic Center Drive SE, Rochester

Cost: $25,

In the Presence of Angels

Plus, Brother Heinrich’s Christmas. Annual advent meditation, plus fable set to music.

When: 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4; 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5

Where: Lourdes High School, 2800 19th St. NW, Rochester

Cost: Free will offering,

Mick Sterling with a Grand Ole Opry Christmas

Cate Fierro, Shalo Lee, and Mick Sterling perform classic Christmas songs in a country fashion.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: Zumbrota State Theatre, 96 E 4th St., Zumbrota

Cost: $28,

The Wonder of Christmas

Philip Brunelle and the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers Quartet share histories of hymns and carols.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: Christ United Methodist Church, 400 Fifth Ave. SW, Rochester

Cost: Free,

The Nightmare Before Krampus w/ Fires of Denmark and Haakon Nelson of Staple

Live music by Fires of Denmark, and darkwave and industrial DJ sets by Haakon Nelson of Staple (RU). Krampus-themed cocktail specials and spiked eggnog available. Costumes encouraged.

When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Where: No Name Bar, 252 E 3rd St., Winona

Cost: Free, 21+.

The RavensFire Band

The RavensFire Band Holiday Concert

Local Irish/Scottish/World music band plays classic holiday tunes.

When: 3-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5

Where: St. Charles Elementary School, 925 Church Ave., St. Charles

Cost: Free

Sounds of the Season with the Austinaires

A 22-member youth show choir performs with Jazz One; AHS Flute Choir; AHS Clarinet Choir; and La Fiera Chamber Orchestra.

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10

Where: Historic Paramount Theatre, 125 Fourth Ave. NE, Austin

Cost: $5 students, $15 adults,

Sweet Treat Sale

Sponsored by Catholic Daughters of the Americas. Runs until 10:30 a.m. or until all products are gone.

When: 8:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 11

Where: St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, 1900 E 6th St., St. Charles

Cost: Free

Christmas Market

Homemade gifts and ornaments. Proceeds benefit American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

When: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11

Where: Kasson Library, 607 First St. NW, Kasson

Cost: Free

Winter Wonderland: craft and vendors fair

17 vendors confirmed, see Facebook event for details.

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11

Where: Graham Park, 1570 Fairgrounds Ave., Rochester

More information: Email .


Free holiday concert featuring brass players from across the state.

When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11

Where: Hope Summit Christian Church, 1315 6th Ave. SE, Rochester

Cost: Free

Chatfield Brass Band Christmas Concert

A Canadian Brass Christmas, Themes from the Nutcracker, White Christmas with Caleb Maughan (vocalist), and audience sing-along. The Chatfield H.S. Art Club will host a bake sale and art auction in conjunction with the concert.

When: 3-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12

Where: Chatfield Lutheran Church, 304 Fillmore St. SE, Chatfield

Cost: Free, donations accepted

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