Well, wasn’t this a pleasant surprise! When I arrived in the Amana Colonies for a business meeting this week, signs around the villages alerted me that the annual Tannenbaum Forest was open. I’d heard of this tradition but had never experienced it. I must go, I decided. Who could resist interrupting a meeting-filled Wednesday with a bit of holiday cheer?
So my colleague and I enthusiastically entered the Festalle Barn, a restored dairy barn original to when German immigrants settled the Amana Colonies more than 150 years ago. Stunning! Without interference from harsh florescent lights, the building is aglow with the colors of more than 25 Christmas trees, each uniquely decorated by local merchants and organizations. I perused the enchanting forest that included trees dressed in kitchen goods, pink flamingos, Rudolph and the Abominable Showman, the Grinch and, of course, the obligatory Frozen-themed tree. Wear your coat (no overhead lighting and no heat) and enjoy the cozy ambiance of this Amana Colonies tradition.
Near the entrance, you can’t miss the 17-foot German-style pyramid that further celebrates the Amana Colonies’ rich ethnic heritage.
Until the forest closes on December 21, special events will delight travelers, including visits from Santa, live music and traditional German drinks. Check out the full calendar of events here.
The spirit of the season is alive in Iowa’s historic Amana Colonies. Treat yourself to a visit.