LIMA — The Allen County Museum is holding its 49th Annual Christmas Festival one year after the event was canceled due to COVID.
Partners Johnny Appleseed Metropolitan Park District and Church Women United of Lima helped ensure the event didn’t get scrapped again. The festival kicked off Wednesday and museum Administrative Assistant and event chair Donna Collins says the event had a good first day and people were happy to have one of the city’s holiday traditions back.
“People are excited,” Collins said. “We’ve gotten comments thanking us for having it again and everybody is happy to be back out again.”
For the health and well-being of all museum visitors and volunteers, live entertainment and refreshments are not offered. Organizers are also limiting the number of people in the MacDonell House to 10-15.
The community can still enjoy many of the event’s traditions, such as the Elking Tree, woodcarvers, rug hookers, fingerprint plaques, the Little Children’s Shoppe and the reading of The Polar Express. The committee also brought back the take a selfie at the wreath display and families can also enjoy an exhibit of artwork by Lima City Elementary Schools students.
The popular craft-making portion of the event had to be cut out due to COVID but Collins says they were able to salvage some of the fun by letting children work on the crafts at home.
“A group of volunteers worked several times to sort, cut, and package activities that can be picked up in the Children’s Discovery Center,” Collins explained. “It won’t be exactly the same but I think families will have fun.”
The Christmas Festival runs through Sunday with the Polar Express story located next to the museum’s Shay (locomotive) display scheduled for Friday at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m.
The Talking Tree display is set for 11 a.m. today and 10:00 a.m. Friday through Sunday.
“We are so pleased to have the Christmas Tree Festival regain momentum,” museum director Amy Craft said, “Although some things are different, we believe the community will once again enjoy viewing trees and participating in activities. For the safety of everyone, we strongly recommend that visitors wear a mask and pay particular attention to social distancing while they wander through the museum.”
Event hours are Thursday, December 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Friday, December 3 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, December 4 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 5 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Vernice Koger, a member of the Church Women’s United group, volunteers at the organization’s bake sale table at the Christmas Tree Festival in Lima. The group uses their proceeds from the bake sale to help fund their activities.
Mark Mohr, who has played the role of a settler during the Christmas Tree Festival for the past 25 years, strings popcorn for decoration as they did in the 1800s. During this year’s festival, they will be making soup with sugar pumpkins, as well other foods that eary settlers made, at the Log Cabin on the museum grounds. The Log Cabin at the museum was built in the 1800s for Aurelia McCullough as a wedding present. McCullough came to Allen County in the covered wagon which is also on display at the museum.
Docents of the museum, Dennis Morrison (left) and Michael Gentry greet visitors of the Christmas Tree Festival at the Allen County Museum which runs through Dec. 5th.
Patti Mormon greets visitors in the upstairs parlor at the MacDonell House. She explains how in the Victorian days, the upstairs parlor was what our basements are today. They are where the children went to play games and entertain themselves.