A ‘Pioneer Christmas’
La PORTE — La Porte County Fairground’s Pioneer Land held its 21st annual Christmas Open House over the weekend.
Immediately upon entering the pioneer village, one’s senses were overtaken with memories of the season.
Participants were greeted by Christmas music played on acoustic instruments in the fabricated streets.
The air smelled of the smoke coming off each building’s fireplace, where people congregated attempting to escape the cold and rain.
Despite the rain, this year’s Christmas open house had a great turn out.
“We have hundreds of people throughout La Porte County come out to Pioneer Christmas,” Pioneer Land Volunteer Becky Jensen explained.
Children lined up with their parents to meet Santa Claus in Pioneer Christmas’s Artisan Barn. They were able to take pictures with a real covered wagon and an oversized rocking chair while they patiently awaited their turn to sit on Santa’s lap.
In addition, draft horse wagon rides around the fairgrounds were offered to all in attendance free of charge.
The event featured a replica log cabin where visitors could enjoy hot apple cider from Garwood Orchards and homemade cookies made only with ingredients that could be found back in the pioneer days. The decorations were also handmade by Pioneer Land volunteers.
“Really, the pioneers probably wouldn’t have had a Christmas tree in their houses because they were just too small to hold one,” said Jensen. She and some of the other volunteers imagined what a pioneer Christmas tree would have looked like and designed the tree’s ornaments accordingly. “We just tried to use materials that they would have been able to get their hands on back then.”
The tree was decorated with festive wood-carved and sewn ornaments. Some ornaments were even made from dried fruit.
Guests were offered popcorn and coco at the Farm Bureau Milk Cabin to help them warm up from the cold.
All refreshments and entertainment was provided at no cost to attendees.
Pioneer Land is able to host their Christmas open house free of charge through fundraisers they hold throughout the year, and donations that come in from the community.
Those interested in volunteering for Pioneer Land should visit www.pioneerland.org.