Participants in the Naughty or Nisse race gathered in front of the Danish Windmill in Elk Horn after last year’s event.

ELK HORN - It’s a celebration of the season, with a Danish twist: Julefest is coming up in the Danish villages of Elk Horn and Kimballton starting on Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30.

This is the 41st anniversary of the celebration that includes all the warm, cozy elements of Christmas — good food, hospitality, candles, decorations and more.

There will be plenty of opportunities to find just the right holiday gift or holiday decoration. A variety of shopping from specialty shops to craft and vendor events will be ready for shoppers on both Friday and Saturday — organizers say there are 21 locations offering unique gifts and food items.

You can get a running start on the holidays by participating in the annual Naughty or Nisse 5k Polar Run Saturday morning.

The run begins at 9 a.m. with runners going from the Little Mermaid statue in Kimballton to the Danish Windmill in Elk Horn. Runners are encouraged to dress up as Nisse (elves), or wear their favorite ugly holiday sweater or other costume. There will be peppermints at the start of the race and hot cocoa at the end at the windmill.

Santa Claus will be roaming the Danish villages as well during the celebration.

If running isn’t your favorite way to start out a day of shopping, there will be a free pancakes and sausage breakfast sponsored by the Better Elk Horn Club at the Elk Horn Fire Station on Saturday, Nov. 30 from 8-10 a.m.

Shopping? Check out area businesses for unique gifts or try one of these two vendor/craft dealer sales.

A Hometown Christmas will be held in Kimballton’s Town Hall on Friday, Nov. 29 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday, Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with soup, sandwiches, and Jeanne’s famous candies and cookies, along with other vendors.

The Main Street Country Boutique will be in the Elk Horn Town Hall Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. with signs, quilts, repurposed and home made furniture, doll clothes, homemade soaps and candles and much more. Free refreshments and door prizes.

The Danish Windmill will also be open Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See the old fashioned Danish Market, celebrate Old World traditions, sample hot Glogg and Danish cheese and you may win at one of the free drawings that are planned.

Looking for something to do?

Stop by Salem Lutheran for coffee at 3 p.m. to receive a free Christmas ornament and visit with residents. You can also purchase one for the Honor/Memory Tree in honor or in memory of a loved one

Get a free cookie with a large drink at coffeegirl at 2030 Elk in Elk Horn Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Elk Horn Public Library open Saturday, Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. with hot chocolate and cookies, see the Christmas train exhibit, and get your picture taken with Santa and Mic Elf from 10:30-11:30 a.m.

Like holiday music? Check out the annual Julefest Concert on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at the Elk Horn Lutheran Church, featuring a variety of Christmas music played by local performers on piano, pipe organ and more. Lunch to follow dancing around the Christmas tree.

You can also learn about Danish America through a visit to the Museum of Danish America, the Genealogy Center or Bedstomer’s House, and this weekend, it’s all free.

Admission is free at the Museum of Danish America on Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. See new exhibits, shop for gifts in the Museum Design Store, LEGO play area for kids of all ages; complimentary refreshments served.

It’s also free admission at the Museum of Danish America Genealogy Center on Main Street Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Research and translation services, find out about Danish family history. Enjoy Christmas activities on Saturday. Pebernodder and wassail will be served on Saturday as well.

Want to step back in time? Check out Bedstemor’s House on Friday and Saturday, 1-4 p.m. visit a Victorian “Grandmother’s” house. Admission is also free on Friday and Saturday.

“Julefest is a great way for these proud Danes to show off their Danish heritage to their welcomed guests and to celebrate the opening of the Christmas season in the Danish Villages,” organizers said, “Pick up a brochure with a map of the local merchants and happenings at any of the Danish Villages businesses. Contact the Danish Windmill at (800) 451-7960 or visit www.danishvillages.com for an electronic copy of the brochure and more information.”