Christmas at the Depot in Independence - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Christmas at the Depot in Independence

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by Danielle Wagner

INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) Christmas is already the theme in one eastern Iowa town.

55, 24 inch tall decorated Christmas trees fill the Illinois Central Depot in Independence. This is the 19th year for "Christmas at the Depot."

Each year, S&K donates the small trees and they're passed out for decorating in September.

A wide variety of people volunteer to create a special themed tree and all 11 towns in Buchanan County are represented.

"4-H kids, church groups, individuals and organizations," said Carol O'Brien.

Besides trees, there's also speciality items. Everything on display is up for grabs, going to the highest bidder.

"Each one has a bid sheet and our visitors come by and if they like that item they'll put their bid down. On December 5th at 3 p.m. we ring a bell and whoever has the highest bid gets that item," said O'Brien.

Carol O'Brien said it's fun to watch the bidding, especially on the last day.

"Sometimes on the last day we have three people wanting the same item and it's fun to see them out bid each other," she said.

O'Brien calls the trees "closet" trees because at the end of the holiday, you can put them on a closet shelf for next Christmas.

All the money raised goes to the electric bill and other maintenance at the depot. Last year's event raised $4,000.

For admission, you're asked to bring a food item for the local pantry.

You have weekends through December 5th to bid on the trees and other items. The depot is open from Noon to 8 on Saturdays and Noon to 6 on Sundays. It's located along Highway 150 in Independence.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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