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Area museums preserve history of Christmas
Ellinwood, Ft. Larned, BCSH plan Christmas events
Horse-drawn carriage rides will be provided Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Fort Larned National Historic Site. - photo by COURTERSY PHOTO
A variety of Christmas trees are on display at the Barton County Historical Society Museum. - photo by Susan Thacker / Great Bend Tribune

Enjoy an old-fashioned holiday and celebrate the history of Christmas on the plains today and the following weekend, starting with Ellinwood’s annual Christkindlemarket. This celebration of Ellinwood’s German heritage will take place from 1-5:30 p.m. today throughout downtown Ellinwood.

There are also free events taking place on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Fort Larned National Historic Site and on Sunday, Dec. 11, at the Barton County Historical Society Museum.


The Museum of Ellinwood, located at 104 N. Main in downtown Ellinwood, is closed for the season but will be open during the holidays by appointment and on Sunday, Dec. 4, for Ellinwood’s Chriskindlmarket. 

For appointments contact Joyce Schulte at 620-564-2886.

Schulte said the museum will be open Sunday from 12:30-3:30 p.m., approximately. The front window is decorated for Christmas and Santa will be there. But most of the Ellinwood Community Historical Society folks will be across the street at the Heritage Center for their annual Cookies By the Pound Sale.

Christkindlemarket includes downtown shopping and a raffle drawing at 5:30 p.m. at Wolf Park.

Not ready to go home? Car enthusiasts have decided to light up their vehicles for a Christmas cruise starting at 6 p.m. In the photo posted on Facebook by the Shifters of Central Kansas Auto Club, there are lighted bicycles and golf carts, too.

Fort Larned

Sleigh bells and Santa will come to Fort Larned’s “Christmas Past” celebration on Dec. 10 from noon to 4:30 p.m. Get a picture with Santa, then take a ride in his horse-drawn carriage, complete with sleigh bells and Christmas wreaths.

Other activities include living history in the Barracks and Officers’ quarters, hot apple cider and popcorn in the Visitor Center and demonstrations by the Fort’s blacksmith.

The soldiers and officers at Fort Larned in the 1860s enjoyed Christmas activities and traditions like we do today. Join staff and volunteers at the fort as they recreate an old-fashioned frontier Christmas at one of the best-preserved Indian Wars era forts in the country. 

Fort Larned National Historic Site is located 6 miles west of Larned on K-156. 

Barton County Historical Society

The Barton County Historical Society’s annual “Ghosts of Christmas Past” is an open house scheduled for 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11. Admission is free and coffee, hot cider and cookies will be available. Santa will also be taking some time from his busy schedule at the North Pole to stop in for photos.

On display is a collection of Christmas trees decorated by local volunteers and groups, along with other holiday-themed displays. Decorating is by Xi Delta Upsilon, Friends of the Fair, Barton County Fair and the historical society’s volunteers and staff, according to Executive Director Richard Lartz II. “There’s quite a variety to look at.”

The Barton County Historical Society Village and Museum is located at 85 South U.S. 281, just south of the Arkansas River Bridge in Great Bend.