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Christmas Tree Festival showcases unique offerings PDF Print E-mail
Monday, November 26, 2012 10:34 AM

 

DELPHOS — Nestled among the retail and restaurants of Downtown Delphos is one of the jewels of the city: the Delphos Canal Commission Museum.

From Dec. 1-23, the museum will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland filled with more than 100 Christmas trees and other holiday decorations.

Since 1999, the museum has opened its doors to local groups, families and individuals to participate in the annual Christmas Tree Festival. Museum trustees also decorate more than 60 trees.

 

Volunteer Marilyn Wagner summarized the lengthy process, or “labor of love” as she calls it. Thirty-three volunteers and local organizations have been working since Oct. 27 setting up and decorating approximately 100 trees, wreaths and nativity scenes. There is still work to do.

 

As for the new displays, volunteer Dorothy Hoffman’s creativity has been flowing this year. She has designed new theme trees, including “Grandma’s Love” and “School Fun Numbers and Snowballs.”

Tree decor can range from traditional Christmas fare to club themes to items for the Delphos Community Christmas Project. The Green Thumb Garden Club uses organic items for its offering; vibrant red and deep purple decorations showcase the Divine Divas Red Hat Ladies theme; Harley Davidson motorcycles, of course, for Do-Right MC; and handmade quilted items represent the Delphos Quilters Club.

Several families also get in the act. Four generations of the Virgil German family will spend an afternoon decorating a tree with kitchen gadgets that will be distributed through the Christmas Project.

One of the favorite displays each year is a nativity set made by Gerhard Laudick (b. 9-26-1853, d. 5-19-1912) for his grandchild’s first Christmas. Richard C. Mueller (b. 9-23-1911, d. 12-02-1993) was the first child of Gerhard’s daughter, Clara Gertrude Laudick and Arthur “Art” Mueller. Gerhard died 8 months after Richard was born. The original lighting for the crib was with coal oil lamps but it was converted to electricity around 1923. Some of the little figurines actually date from 1888. This nativity set has been a cherished part of the Mueller family’s Christmas for 100 years and they choose to display it at the museum each year so that others may enjoy it.

Another item which has a long history is the feather tree, which is usually made out of green-dyed goose feathers. The trunk of the tree was a plain wooden rod and the branches were made of stiff wire that had feathers wrapped around them. Red berries or candle holders were placed at the ends of the branches. Because of the danger of candles, these trees had more space between their branches than today’s Christmas trees. One visitor at the museum commented that it looked like a “Charlie Brown” tree.

The earliest feather trees in America were brought by German immigrants, so it is not surprising that the museum has one in its possession.

And what would Christmas be without a sleigh? The one at the museum is a one-horse open sleigh donated by the families of Richard Kimmet and Arthur Hoersten. This style of sleigh is also known as a “cutter” because it is lightweight, has gracefully-curved runners and a decorative body and usually holds only two people.

On the second floor amongst the military display is the POW/MIA tree and more are nestled in between the history of the city.

Passersby in the evening are treated to the ethereal “Lady Tree” in the museum’s display window.

The tree festival will be open for Hometown Christmas on Nov. 30 and officially  opens from 1-4 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday and 6-8 p.m. every Friday Dec. 1-23. There is no charge for admission; donations are gratefully accepted.

The museum is located at 241 N. Main St.

 

Last Updated on Monday, November 26, 2012 10:38 AM
 

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