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Dubuque IA Holiday Events

dubuque reflections in the park Christmas Lights
Christmas Lights - Reflections in the Park Festival - Dubuque, IA

Dubuque, IA Pages

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Thanksgiving weekend kicks off the holiday events in Dubuque, Iowa. Every other year Jo and I have traveled to one of the towns along the Upper Mississippi Great River Road to spend the weekend at a historic hotel. In 2011, we stayed at the Hotel Julian Dubuque. The Hotel Julian dates back to 1839 and the original Julian Hotel on this site. That structure was destroyed by fire and the current rendition originally constructed in 1915. Since that time the hotel has undergone two significant remodeling, the first from 1962 - 67 and the latest, a 30+ million dollar endeavor, from 2007 - 2009, including being closed for 6 months. The most recent renaissance, involving both interior and exterior, restored the hotel to its 1915 grandeur.

hotel julian dubuqueThanksgiving Dinner - Caroline's Restaurant, Hotel Julian Dubuque

The hotel didn’t offer a Thanksgiving buffet but it’s Caroline’s Restaurant did offer a choice of a traditional turkey platter or a traditional maple glazed ham dinner. Both entrees came with sautéed green beans drizzled with a honey balsamic glaze and served with Caroline’s classic turkey dressing and Chef Drew’s signature mashed potatoes smothered in rich turkey gravy. Also included was a side of homemade cranberry sauce and a house salad. We chose the classic turkey dinner. The turkey and beans were done to perfection, moist, warm and not over-cooked. The rest of the side dishes were equally satisfying and none of us went away hungry.

Hotel Julian Lobby
The hotel lobby and atrium level were decorated for the holidays. Sprinkled around the perimeter of the center of the lobby were several conversation areas with soft chairs and sofas to accommodate small groups of people. hotel julian dubuqueThe lobby second floor atrium level offered several more sets of lounging chairs.

Hotel Julian AtriumThe Atrium Level was set up to host the centerpiece of the annual Festival of Trees. Several business and community groups create uniquely decorated Christmas Trees that are on display for the seven days of the Festival. Bids are accepted to purchase each tree with the proceeds going to a non-profit charity that is designated for each tree.

Dubuque Festival of Trees

The festival opened with a Winter Carnival on Saturday afternoon closing Main Street for food, drinks, carolers, and other holiday celebrations, including appearances by traditional Christmas characters like Buddy the Elf, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolf. The high school choir and the mayor welcomed the official opening lighting the trees ceremony.

Later the opening night reception was held at the Hotel Julian's ballroom with music provided by Hunter Fuerste and the American Vintage Orchestra.

Other events of the annual festival include: Santa's Workshop and the Cookie Walk on Sunday, the Fashion Show & Cake Auction on Tuesday, Senior Day on Wednesday, and the Closing event on the second Saturday where successful bidders are announced.

More information on the Festival of Trees Celebration

Reflections in the Park

Beginning Thanksgiving day, thousands of colored light bulbs and wire turn Dubuque’s Louis Murphy Park into a giant Christmas Holiday Lights display with hundreds of displays sponsored by business and community groups. The modest admission charge per car goes to fund programs and services of Hillcrest Family Services. The Christmas Lights display runs through January 1st.

Reflections in the Park Christmas Lights

Reflections in the Park Christmas Lights

Reflections in the Park is a drive-through exhibition. A different approach is taken by the Christmas Lights Village in Duluth, Minnesota where visitors park their cars and walk through a Christmas and Santa village created with colored lights.

Other holiday events in Dubuque include a holiday concert by the Dubuque Symphony and a special 3D/4D performance of a portion of the popular Polar Express movie at the National River Museum's multi-media theater.

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Holiday Events Dubuque Iowa Area

See the Dubuque Travel Events Calendar

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Dubuque Iowa Travel & Visitor Links

quiltbullet Dubuque Chamber of Commerce Events Calendar
quiltbullet Dubuque Mystique Casino & Greyhound Park
quiltbullet Diamond Jo Casino
quiltbullet Dubuque Star Brewery Restaurant
quiltbullet Stone Cliff Winery
quiltbullet DubuqueFest
quiltbullet Mines of Spain Visitor Center
quiltbullet National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium
quiltbullet Motel Hotel Lodging Links

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