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Museum hosts 'Ghosts of Christmas Past'
Toys of Christmas past theme
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Bev Komarek, director of the Barton County Historical Society Museum, welcomes families to visit the museum Sunday afternoon and visit with Santa in the antique sleigh that is part of the museums collection. - photo by VERONICA COONS, Great Bend Tribune

Another Great Bend tradition returns Sunday with “Ghosts of Christmas Past” at the Barton County Historical Society Museum.  Each year, the museum sponsors an afternoon slate of entertainment and a free come and go complete with cookies and refreshments at the museum.  
This year, the theme is Toys of Christmas Past, and staff and volunteers have been busy dusting off, (read playing with) the toys in the museums collection.
“The thing about toys is how they are reflective of what the children of days gone by learned that would help them in their adult lives,” Komarek said.  
Sleighs, carriages, and rocking horses hearken back to the days before cars.  Airplanes, tanks and bombers were popular in World War II.  In the 1950s, there were dolls and cooking sets for the girls and toy guns and cowboy stuff for the boys.  In the 60s and 70s, tin gave way to plastics in a rainbow of primary colors and Fisher Price made its mark with simple and safe toys for toddlers like Ferris wheels, barnyard sets and more.  Toys are on display all over the museum.
The model train set makes its reappearance in the exhibit hall, which visitors are free to operate.  Santa Claus will also be on hand to sit for photographs in the museum’s authentic sleigh outfitted with the original sleigh bells.
The fun begins at 1 p.m. with the community Christmas carol sing-a-long, followed by piano solos by students of the Central Kansas Piano Teacher League.
At 2 p.m., the Great Bend Middle School Women in Harmony, directed by Malia Divilbiss, will perform.  Then, at 2:30, the Prairie Wind Brass Quintet, featuring some of the area’s top musicians like Joe Boley, Steve Lueth, Jim McReynolds and JB and Marc Webster will steal the spotlight.  
At 3 p.m., more piano solos will be presented, followed at 3:15, by the Muth Family Musical.  The finale of the day of music and fun is a performance by the USD 428 Holiday Strings directed by Isaac Enochs from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.