Event Planning Committee

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Tasha Jackson

tasha-jacksonTell us about yourself.

Hi! I’m Tasha, and I’m related to at least half of the 46 accused witches of Salem. How do I know this? I’m a genealogist. Now that I’ve got your attention, here are some things you should know about me: I grew up in Clive and graduated from Valley High School, going on to study at Simpson College, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. I also studied German language and literature, and Theatre. I’m fascinated by languages and I love to help people find things–people, answers, solutions–you name it. I’m currently the 2nd Vice President and Cataloging Librarian for the Iowa Genealogical Society, where I’ve been a member for 11 years. I’m also working with Des Moines European Heritage Association‘s Saturday School (Samstagsschule) to help kids learn German. When I’m not working on one of those projects, I’m learning Czech and Norwegian to help assist with my family history research. All of these activities are in addition to my day job in the corporate world. I love loud music, the X-Men, ice hockey, Doctor Who, and spending time with my family: my husband and daughter, and our 2 pet chinchillas.

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

I got involved with the Christkindlmarket after hearing about it at the Iowa Genealogical Society’s Fall Open House in September. I wasn’t able to study abroad in college, but I’ve continued to study German over the years, teaching some to my daughter as well. I’ve never been to a Christmas Market, but I’ve always wanted to go to one. My husband and I went to Basel, Switzerland and Munich, Germany on our honeymoon several years ago, and I was fluent enough in German to spend 10 days there without an interpreter. The culture and scenery were fantastic, and I want to be able to help bring some part of that experience to other people. I think more people should take the time to learn another language, and I think everyone can benefit from exposure to other cultures. Not everyone can go to Europe–but we can bring Europe to you!

Why should others become involved?

It’s an opportunity to meet new people, enjoy good food and drinks, and learn about the culture and traditions that many of your ancestors may have been a part of, while experiencing sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday season!

 

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Betsy Penisten

betsy-penistenTell us about yourself.

Betsy grew up on the north side of Des Moines and attended Saydel High School. Upon graduating, she attended the University of Iowa and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with majors in English Literature and political science. Betsy currently resides in Des Moines, and is a  program planner for the Iowa Department of Human Rights Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning. Betsy enjoys gardening,  painting, and playing the Ukulele.

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

Betsy learned about Christkindlmarket Des Moines while walking past a booth at the Des Moines Art Festival and questioning why, in the summertime, there would be a booth decorated for Christmas. She soon found out about the Christkindlmarket and immediately wanted to  get involved for the diversity the organization offers— there are so many volunteer opportunities available based on where your interest lies.

Why should others become involved?

Betsy believes others should get involved because it gives you the opportunity to give back to the community while also learning about different cultures and customs.

Des Moines European Heritage Association connects Iowans with European traditions, language education and cultural experiences; and it provides resources and tools to other cultural heritage organizations.

Support[1]

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Mike Mendenhall

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Tell us about yourself.

Mike grew up on the east side of Des Moines and attended East High School. Upon graduating, he went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in music performance from the University of Iowa. Mike currently resides in Des Moines, and is the editor of  two weekly newspapers in the state: Jasper County Tribune and Prairie City News. Mike enjoys Star Wars lore, indie classical and jazz music, and listening to Iowa Public Radio.

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

Mike learned about Christkindlmarket Des Moines while taking in the sights and sounds of the Des Moines Arts Festival this summer. Mike is volunteering to help a worthwhile culturally-minded non-profit become established in the Greater Des Moines Area.

Why should others become involved?

Mike believes others should get involved because it is an opportunity to learn about ancestry and the
commonalities of European traditions.

Des Moines European Heritage Association connects Iowans with European traditions, language education and cultural experiences; and it provides resources and tools to other cultural heritage organizations.

Support[1]

 

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Missy Mootz

Missy MootzTell us about yourself.

My name is Missy Mootz, and I grew up in Iowa before broadening my horizons for 4 years in Minneapolis and 3 years in Zurich, Switzerland. I am currently a stay-at-home mom of one (soon to be two in December). I married my college sweetheart who provided me with the opportunity to experience all that Europe has to offer.

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

I got involved in Christkindlmarket Des Moines for two reasons. I was looking for a connection to the life I had just lived for 3 years in Switzerland, and I wanted to get involved in the community. Luckily, I came across this opportunity, and it has already exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait for the first inaugural Market to start some new traditions with my family!

Why should others become involved?

Anyone and everyone should get involved with this event. Even if you are just a visitor this year, I guarantee, once you experience a Christmas Market, you will want to do it over and over again. Everyone should have access to experience new cultures and old traditions regardless of where you live.





Des Moines European Heritage Association connects Iowans with European traditions, language education and cultural experiences; and it provides resources and tools to other cultural heritage organizations.

Support[1]

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Dave Cox

Dave CoxTell us about yourself.

I am a professional technical manager and an amateur husband and father.

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

I lived in Germany as a student and professional and attended many Christmas markets.

Why should others become involved?

I would love my children and eventual grand children to experience the old world charm and flavors of their European Heritage.

 

Des Moines European Heritage Association connects Iowans with European traditions, language education and cultural experiences; and it provides resources and tools to other cultural heritage organizations.

Support[1]

ByRebecca Banger

Meet Rebecca Banger, DMEHA Intern!

Rebecca Banger is currently a second year student at Drake University, studying Advertising and Public Relations with emphasis in design. She will be a graduate of Drake’s class of 2018 and hopes to work in PR in Des Moines. Banger is from small-town, Farmington, Missouri, and is actively involved on campus and around Des Moines.

Banger decided to get involved with the Des Moines European Heritage Association and Christkindlmarket Des Moines planning as she is very interested in the culture of Des Moines and the European influence on the city of Des Moines. It is Banger’s dream to experience as much culture as she can and everything else the world has to offer. Banger plans on accomplishing this goal by learning about European culture and hopefully traveling in the future.

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BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Anna VanWaardhuizen

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an Illinois native living in Des Moines while attending Drake University. I’m a junior studying public relations with a concentration in leadership development. I also work on campus and serve as president for our chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America. In my free time, I love showing off Des Moines to visiting family and friends, reading mystery novels and binge-watching as many Netflix episodes as I can fit in one night.

Anna VanWaardhuizen headshot

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

I was looking for a way to get more experience in the various aspects of public relations and marketing. I found the Des Moines European Heritage Association through my school and thought it would be a great fit. Now I get to learn more about European culture, event planning and marketing. Even better, I get to help produce an event that showcases just how special Des Moines is.

Why should people become involved?

There are practically endless reasons to get involved. First, the group planning the Christkindlmarket Des Moines has a contagious excitement. The passion of our volunteers shows how important this event will be when it comes to Des Moines. Second, what better way to bring a little more culture to our city? Lastly, there are so many ways to get involved. There’s an opportunity for everyone, from donating, sponsoring, planning or even just attending.

 

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

Support[1]

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Theresa Edman

Tell us about yourself.

I moved to Des Moines 3 years ago after living most of my life in Minnesota. I currently work as a paralegal and enjoy attending live music events with my boyfriend and exploring all the hidden gems Des Moines has to offer.

Why are you in Christkindlmarket?

I wanted to find a way to get involved in my new community, and when I found out about Christkindlmarket Des Moines, I knew I had found the right project for me! It combines my love of community service, my strong interest in European language and culture, and the excitement of being a part of something that is sure to become a much-loved mainstay of this community!

Why should people become involved?

You should get involved if you want to contribute to the growing, vibrant community of Des Moines by working on the first ever Christkindlmarket in the city. If you are interested in European culture, either through your own ancestry or through travel experience, and want to both learn more about it and share that interest with the community, I encourage you to get involved. We’d love to have you on board!

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

Support[1]

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Carissa Stout

Tell us about yourself.

I am a musician and teacher who loves to travel. I taught band and general music in Berlin, Germany, for four years prior to moving to Des Moines in 2014. I have enjoyed discovering all that Des Moines has to offer!

Carissa - cropped

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

While living in Germany, I found the Christmas markets to be the most magical thing about the long, dark winters there. The festive atmosphere of a Christmas market puts me much more in the Christmas spirit than an overcrowded shopping mall around the holidays. I am excited to help bring some an amazing tradition to Des Moines!

Why should people become involved?

You should get involved if you want to try something new and help bring an exciting, cultural event to Des Moines!

As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

Support[1]

BySuzanne Hull

Meet Your Event Planning Committee Members | Gintare “G” Kelley

Tell us about yourself.

I am originally from Lithuania and now I live in Clive, Iowa, with my husband and our two boys. 

Why are you involved with Christkindlmarket Des Moines?

With each year passing I appreciate my European roots more and more.  I got involved with Christkidlmarket Des Moines because I loved the idea of authentic European traditions getting carried out in Iowa. For me it was a way to learn about organizing an event, getting involved in our community, and meeting some amazing like-minded people along the way!

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Why should people become involved?

The real question is why not get involved?!  This has never been done in the Des Moines area! The event has a long tradition of successfully bringing joy to communities all over the world so why not here? Our community deserves it!  Whether you are a sponsor, a vendor or just want to donate and support us that way, it’s a great way to be part of something special, to educate our community and bring some European flavor to our holidays!
As a grassroots non-profit, Des Moines European Heritage Association serves as a platform to carry on European traditions, support language education and to create cultural awareness. We are a resource for Iowans, immigrants, travel enthusiasts and international business professionals to connect with European cultural heritage and for cultural organizations who want to engage with their members in a cohesive and centralized manner.

Support[1]

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