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Volunteering is a great way to spend time with families and friends, all while giving back and helping those in need. There are many ways to give back to the Hastings community — the opportunities listed below are just a few. Don't be afraid to reach out to an organization or cause you are passionate about and see how you can help. Grab the family or your friends and find a way to do some good in the community. Food4Kids
All aboard the Holiday Train! On the night of Sunday, Dec. 9, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train rolled through Hastings and was greeted by a large crowd of observers both big and small. Adults, kids and furry friends gathered in a large crowd to see the bright lights of the train. As the train pulled to a stop, Christmas lights spelled out "Canadian Pacific Holiday Train," on the side of the cars and made dancing snowmen, rocking reindeer and ringing bells come alive with lights.
For the past two years, the Pre-K Committee has been working to figure out how to better prepare the youngsters of Hastings for success in kindergarten. The group formed as a result of the Minnesota Department of Education's World's Best Workforce program, which requires school districts across the state to reach goals in several categories, according to committee head Jennifer Reichel.
City Council unanimously voted to support the recommended project plans from the Minnesota Department of Transportation regarding Highway 316. Since February, MnDOT has worked with city officials and residents to discuss concerns about the current Highway 316 corridor and ways to improve it. Key concerns that came out of the discussions were the ability to access the highway, especially in making left turns, lack of pedestrian and bicyclist facilities, and traffic speeds.
As a child, Peter Martin knew that he wanted to make music. That dream began at 4 years old in Hastings, when he took his first piano lesson. The musical seed was planted. Martin and his family moved away when his father joined the military, but his love of music never faded. He tried various instruments in middle and high school but when it came time to focus in college, percussion had his heart. "Percussion is unique because it is not defined by a single instrument, and every culture has its own percussion traditions," Martin said.
Community members of all ages joined together early Thanksgiving morning to participate in the 21st annual Gobble Gait. This year's event saw roughly 3,100 people and raised $125,000 for Hastings Family Service. The first-place male winner of the 8K race was Nick Ross and the first-place female winner was Marit Sonnesyn. Kelsey Roy / RiverTown Multimedia
Knitters and crocheters rejoice! A new yarn shop opened in Hastings over Thanksgiving weekend. Muse2320 Fiber Co. officially opened for business Saturday, Nov. 24 at 113 E. Second St. Suite 103. The shop sells patterns, kits, embroidery supplies, yarn and soon to include a special Muse2320 line. The cozy shop, nestled between United Way of Hastings and El Mexican, has been a long time coming for owner Sara Lawrence and her husband Bob. The couple has always known that a shop would be in their future.
Still need to get photos with Santa? The City of Hastings Parks and Recreation Department, along with the Hastings YMCA and Community Education, has created a new event to celebrate the holidays — Santa and S'mores. Santa and S'mores will be held 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 at Camp Spring Lake. The night will include pictures with Santa, hot cocoa, s'mores and holiday crafts. The trails around Spring Lake will be lit up with candles.
HAMPTON — A Hampton restaurant is open after burning down last year. Meric's Woodfired Oven and Tavern, previously known as the Naughty Pine, celebrated its grand opening on Oct. 19 after burning down in May 2017. The owners, Eric and Michelle Johnson, announced their new plan for the business and broke ground this past July. "It's been great — a big change. Having the food be the main focus has been a big change," Eric Johnson said.
Want to shop local for your presents this year and begin holiday festivities all at once? The annual Holiday Hoopla in downtown Hastings has you covered. This year's Holiday Hoopla will be held 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. New to the event are a coloring contest and a sing-along carols session at Spiral Brewery, and a cookie decorating competition at Second Street Depot. The event will also feature both horse-drawn wagon and reindeer sleigh rides, ice carving, and a medallion hunt with a cash prize.