Column: Christmas at Pioneer VillageWORTHINGTON — The event at Pioneer Village is aptly named as an Old Fashioned Christmas. This event has been celebrated annually since 1989 on the Thursday and Friday evenings after the Thanksgiving week.
By: Al Swanson, Daily Globe Historical Columnist, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The event at Pioneer Village is aptly named as an Old Fashioned Christmas. This event has been celebrated annually since 1989 on the Thursday and Friday evenings after the Thanksgiving week. There was only one time that the Old Fashioned Christmas did not take place. The extreme cold forced that cancellation.
This year was somewhat unusual as Mother Nature hadn’t contributed any of the white stuff. The sleigh, pulled by big Belgian horses, was left behind and a wagon was in its place. The weather was not too cold, so the children and adults rode on the green grass of Pioneer Village.
There was much to attract everyone who came on the third and fourth of December. There was food in the saloon served by the Westminster Presbyterian Youth group. They have served every Christmas since the beginning in 1989. There was also entertainment to be seen and listened to in the saloon.
The Country Store, located next to the saloon, had freshly baked goodies for sale along with calendars, cookbooks and scrapbooking supplies. Louis Stowe, the wood carver, has been featured every year since 1989. Roy Reimer, director at Pioneer Village, also displayed and offered for sale his wood crafts.
But the highlight of this and every Christmas at the Village is the old gentleman, Santa Claus. He listened to wishes of all the children who came to Pioneer Village. The parents who brought these children also listened to the wishes. Many of these adults may have memories of their visits to the old gentleman when they were in their childhood. One year a grandparent brought 11 children to see Santa. Parents, aunts and uncles were in the group to see Santa, who stops in the Fire Hall during the celebration.
The Reading Bus Line has traditionally made two trips for each of the evenings at Pioneer Village. Then, the Tour of Lights is taken at no charge for each passenger. Bud Fritz has driven the bus on the tour every year since Old Fashioned Christmas came to Pioneer Village.
Now we look back on this tradition of the Old Fashioned Christmas that was started in 1989. This year, there were more than 660 adults that brought children to see the old gentleman, Santa Claus. Almost 500 children made their wishes known as they took their turn to see him.
Now the Historical Society will close Pioneer Village for this year and will start planning for the next year — as there will always be and Old Fashioned Christmas at Pioneer Village.
Al Swanson is president emeritus of the Nobles County Historical Society.