Cookie decorating

David, Johnathan and Lucas Stam decorate cookies with help from Carol Polkowske

OSKALOOSA – The Veterans of Foreign War of the United States Auxiliary Post 2237 sponsored the Annual Holly Jolly Fest at Penn Central Mall Nov. 30 and it was a real treat.

VFW Auxiliary Trustee Diana Gordin said Saturday’s turnout was the best they have had since they began hosting the event last year.

“We have had probably three times the amount of people we has last year, we actually are running out of Christmas tree decorations,” she said. “Just tons of people today and I’m so happy about that. every everybody that plays wins. There’s no no losers. We don’t have those. They’re all winners.”

There were several stations to choose from with games and prizes like cookie decorating, ornament making, ring toss, bean bag tosses, a giant Connect 4 and Jenga game, and pin the nose on the snowman, tattoos, bingo and many more.

The VFW Auxiliary said this year they were short on volunteers to help man the stations, but planning and orchestrating the event was a breeze as they were able to recycle ideas from last year and many local business and community members chipped in to donate prizes and games for the kids to enjoy.

“The mall helped out and a lot of what we used came from what we had last year, to know what we needed to do and stuff. We’re really short on volunteers this year, but we’ve had an awesome crowd this year,” Gordin said. “Anybody we’ve asked to donate, has been extremely helpful. Hy-Vee supplied cookies, so they can decorate cookies. Mahaska Drug left some of their games, the toss ring toss and stuff. Walmart supplies our mini cupcakes; Dave and Carol Pulaski got the beanbag tosses from the Legion, and Jenga and Connect Four came from the pinball arcade place in here. The new axe throwing place is also giving out a couple of the prizes.”

The VFW Auxiliary was established in 1914 and serves as one of the nations oldest veterans service organizations. The goals of the VFW Auxiliary is to serve United States veterans and communities in honor of the sacrifices those who have served made.

With nearly 3,800 Auxiliaries nationwide, the Oskaloosa Auxiliary was been around since March 7, 1949 and the Clarence C. Cook Auxiliary Post 2237 since Nov. 2, 1931. Trustee Diana Gordin said the auxiliary enjoys sponsoring events like these because they help to raise awareness for the organization.

“The events help people to become aware of what we are about.We’re not just all about the veterans, it’s the community,” Gordin said. “It’s just a good organization to give back. I had three brothers that were all serving during the Korean War. My ex-husband was in the Vietnam era, my son, Eric, was in Desert Storm and the Marines, and then I have a grandson that was a guard. So, that’s my way of giving back to the veterans, you know.”

VFW Auxiliary President Cheryl Ferree said sponsoring events like this for the children and the community always serve as a good time for members of the auxiliary.

“The Holly Jolly Family Fest is good, the kids have a good time,” Ferree said. “We have gifts for them when they do something and you get to meet a lot of nice people and little kids, and we’ve had some darling little kids come through. Last year we started doing the Veteran’s Christmas cards here in the mall and we’ll do that again next year, that’ll be a yearly event for sure.”

For those interested in joining the VFW Auxiliary they are currently looking for new members to join the organization.

“We’d like to have members come in and join. They would need to be from a grandfather, father, brother, or sister of someone that has been over during a foreign war,” Ferree said. “We have to stay in the realm of grandparents, parents, brother or sister. Then they would be able to join the auxiliary. We have membership applications and they can pick those up at the VFW, we always have plenty of them there for that.”

On Saturday, Dec. 7 the auxiliary will host their Kid’s Christmas Party at 1 p.m. and Santa will be present at 2 p.m. for pictures.

Tiffany McDaniel can be reached at or on Twitter @tmcdaniel_osky.

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