The Barton County Historical Society is being transformed into a winter wonderland of historical Christmas decorations. The public is invited to attend “Ghosts of Christmas Past” on Sunday, December 10 from 1-4 p.m. at the BCSH museum, located just south of the Arkansas River at 85 South U.S. 281, Great Bend. Refreshments will be served and children of all ages may take a turn sitting on the lap of the Jolly Old Elf himself, Saint Nicholas.
Admission for this special day will be free for all patrons. Donations are encouraged.
Balinda Ochs from Great Bend has also been kind enough to lend her vintage green aluminum Christmas tree to the museum, complete with period ornaments for all to enjoy,” Engleman said.
“She has been collecting Christmas decorations from by-gone eras for many years and wanted to share them this year. She also has two Santa Claus figures that were store samples produced by Teem soda, which were from the Big Wheel Drive-In run by Willie and Helen Willingham, who were Balinda’s aunt and uncle. An entire showcase of ornaments, blow molds, salt and pepper shakers, and glass beads will be displayed from her collection as well.
A feather tree will be displayed again this year, resplendent with period glass balls. It is made from a wire base, with dyed goose feathers for branches. A German custom, the trees were sold here in dime stores in the 1920s and 1930s. The feather tree is the oldest Christmas tree in the museum’s collection.
Another favorite is the Meyer family tree, with ornaments from the 1930s through the 1990s. Mrs. Meyer decided that she didn’t want to decorate a tree every year, so she had it hauled downstairs with the ornaments left on. But she added decorations every year.
Various civic groups have decorated Christmas trees throughout the museum building and will be available for viewing.
Some of the buildings on the grounds have been decorated with lights, so folks are encouraged to drive through the village after dark. Lights will be on through the New Year holiday.
Entertainment will be featured throughout the afternoon, featuring local school groups, as well as other musicians from the area.
1 p.m. - Harlen Jerke, pump organ
1:30 p.m. - Great Bend Middle School Jazz Band
2:30 p.m. - Great Bend High School Orchestra
3 p.m. - Brad Shirer, pump organ.
Regular museum hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the trees available for viewing through the end of the year.
BY JUSTIN ENGLEMAN
Barton Co. Historical Society