The City of Jasper is all decked out in readiness for O’Tannenbaum Days this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 30 through December 2.
So what, exactly, is a Tannenbaum? In German, Tannenbaum is the Christmas Tree traditionally set up and decorated on Christmas Eve, usually either a fir or spruce. Decorations might include tinsel, glass balls or straw ornaments and sweet treats, with a star or angel atop. Beneath the tree, presents are placed next to a nativity scene.
So why does Jasper celebrate O’Tannenbaum Days?
The name is perfect for a couple of reasons. While the community today is diverse, German settlers founded Jasper and much of that heritage is still evident. In addition, an enormous Christmas Tree welcomes everyone to the Courthouse Square.
While most of this nation waits for Santa Claus to fill their stockings on December 24, Saint Nicholas Day, December 6, is a traditional festival for children in many European countries, and for many kinder in Dubois County. This celebration is related to the legend of Saint Nicholas, particularly his reputation as a bringer of gifts. In Northern Germany, children put a boot outside the front door on December 5. St. Nicholas fills the boot with gifts and sweets overnight, and at that time, checks to see if the children have been good, polite and helpful in the past year.
Those who were not will find a rute (tree branch) in their boot!
There will likely be no branch-filled boots in Jasper this weekend. Instead, visitors will discover much to enjoy, including tours of all the amazing historical sights, such as the magnificent St. Joseph Catholic Church, an 1880 Romanesque, old world-style church listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Visit the many specialty stores offering unique gift ideas and take time to smell the potpourri, sample the treats, listen to the beautiful music or reminisce on a carriage ride. Take a train ride, enjoy the shopping, and have a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Listen to carolers, visit with Santa, and hear the special performances to be offered through the weekend.
Free maps with event locations will be available on the outside rack at the Jasper Chamber of Commerce office, located at 302 W. 6th Street.
Members of the Actors Community Theatre will be caroling in the downtown area on Friday evening from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Santa Claus will be in his special house on the courthouse square throughout the entire weekend. Visit him, and make sure you bring your camera! He will be there on Friday from 5 – 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from noon – 3:00 p.m. both days. You will want to bring your camera to photograph your child with Santa Claus. Take advantage of the beautiful community Christmas tree next to Santa’s house and take some pictures of your children, friends, or relatives. This is a great weekend to share with loved ones and a wonderful time to reminisce and to make new memories that will last for years.
Horse-drawn carriage rides are sure to please both young and old during this special weekend. At a starting point in front of Jasper City Hall, on the Square, in downtown Jasper, the carriage will travel north and south for several blocks. There will be one carriage taking passengers on the scenic and historic tour of downtown Jasper. The carriage rides will be available at no cost, although donations are always accepted. The carriage rides will run Friday evening, December 1 from 5:30 – 8:00 p.m., and on Saturday afternoon from 12 noon until 4:00 p.m. Carriage rides will not take place on Sunday.
You can begin the day early in the morning on Saturday by stopping at three local churches. Attend all three for a large variety of delicious treats. Trinity United Church of Christ begins their Cookie Walk at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and will continue selling their delicious cookies until 1:00 p.m. They will also have a bake sale. Precious Blood Church will host their St. Nick Bazaar beginning at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. They will have lots of crafts, gifts and home-baked goodies and a cookie walk from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Precious Blood event continues on Saturday until 5:00 p.m. and then again on Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon. St. Joseph Church will host a Christmas Bazaar in the Parish Center on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Baked goods, cookies, crafts, dolls, turnip slaw, new items, white elephant items, jellies and more.
Krempp Gallery, inside the Jasper Arts Center, South Third Avenue, will feature the “Visual Arts Committee” display all weekend. Beautiful artwork from local artists. The Gallery hours are Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon until 3:00 p.m. The Krempp Gallery is closed on Saturday.
A Holiday Bazaar will be on Saturday only from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Cabby O’Neil Gym on 6th Street in the center of Jasper. More than 35 local vendors (crafter & direct sales) will showcase their wares. Register to win a $20 cash giveaway.
The Jasper Christmas Craft Show is at Jasper High School on Saturday only from 10 am. to 5:00 p.m. All items will be handmade including handmade treasures, arts and crafts, homemade baked goods, crafts for kids, etc. They will also have balloons and photo opportunities. Food concessions will be available at both venues.
The Dubois County Museum, 2704 North Newton Street, is open this weekend Friday from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. Take some time to visit the Dubois County Museum and learn a lot about the history of Dubois County. Have breakfast with Santa on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. (call 812-630-9891 for reservations). You can see many Christmas trees and enjoy numerous Santa’s from the museum’s collections. Come and see the many Christmas trees in the “Festival of Trees – Americana/God Bless America” theme. Strings will perform violin music at 2:00 on Saturday and Lisa Hoppenjans will provide violin musical entertainment on Sunday on the porch of the log cabin. Delight in the dollhouses and model trains, and enjoy some Christmas shopping in the well-stocked gift shop.
A guided tour of St. Joseph Catholic Church and the church bell tower will be given on Saturday afternoon beginning promptly at 12 noon and lasting about two hours. Meet at the main doors of the church for a historical tour of this magnificent and beautiful building that is a landmark for Jasper. The guide, Bernie Vogler, will greet you and share some interesting history.
Jasper Public Library, 1116 Main Street, is joining the weekend activities on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. You and your children can gather for a special time of stories and singing with Santa Claus. The Jasper Library is also providing a Story-Walk in the windows of the stores in downtown Jasper beginning on November 30th.
The Jasper City Mill, by the Patoka River Bridge, will be open throughout the weekend. Go back in time to view the water wheel and grinding of corn into meal. Great gift items available at the mill, too. Hours: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
The American Legion Post 147 and its Auxiliary are hosting the 81st Annual Community Christmas Party – this year on Sunday afternoon – in the Black Gym at the Jasper Middle School. Doors open at 12:30 p.m. and Santa arrives at 1:00 p.m. Children will be given a bag of treats when leaving the gym. Santa and several cartoon characters will be available for pictures for a short time afterward Music will be provided by the Jasper Middle School band under the direction of John Coller. Make this event part of your annual family Christmas traditions!
Artists and artisans will display their talents all weekend in many of the stores.
Each of the 40+ participating stores and locations will also have guides available, showing where the artists and crafters or special treats will be located and what products they will demonstrate and sell. Those guides are also available at the Jasper Chamber of Commerce at 302 West 6th St. You can also call the Chamber at 812-482-6866 for more information about any of the events that are taking place during O’Tannenbaum Days weekend.
Most of the hotels in Jasper and Dubois County are offering Olde World Christmas lodging packages. Call the Jasper Chamber of Commerce at 812-482-6866 or the Dubois County Visitors Center at 812-482-9115 or 1-800-968-4578 for this information or go to www.visitduboiscounty.com.
O’Tannenbaum Days is funded through a cooperative effort of the Greater Downtown Jasper Business Association, Jasper Chamber of Commerce and the Dubois County Visitors Center.