STRONGSVILLE – The Strongsville Historical Society took guests back in time with its annual Christmas in the Village Dec. 1 and 2.
The event will be open to the public again during the weekend of Dec. 8 and 9, from 2 to 5 p.m., and will feature visits with Santa Claus and the opportunity for children to make gingerbread houses.
The event welcomes people onto the grounds of the village to see the eight buildings dressed up for the season, meet with Saint Nick, have a taste of tea and enjoy a traditional look back at Christmas. The Olds General Store is also open and gives guests a chance to buy unique and Strongsville-themed gifts.
The buildings are decorated and staffed by historical society volunteers. Each building features volunteers who tell stories of the history, the décor and the people who lived there. Some of the docents during the second weekend of the event will be from the local Girl Scouts, who spend time learning about the buildings so they can pass the knowledge onto visitors.
The Girl Scouts are also the ones who do the gingerbread houses for children during the second weekend of the event. For 20 years now, they have brought in the supplies for children to create their own gingerbread houses. Participants pay $1 for each house, and all of the proceeds are donated back to the historical society.
“They bring in everything they need, and everything they make goes back to the historical society,” said Sonia Reber, event organizer. “It gives them ownership of the event and it’s something they can be proud of.”
The event is always free, and is considered by the members of the society to be a holiday gift to the community, whether people just drive by and see the lights or venture inside to see the many trees, old-fashioned table settings and decorations. The event draws people in, gets them excited about the season, and gives them an opportunity to support the history of Strongsville.
Children enjoy the event as a nice, off-the-beaten-path way to see Santa. Mr. Claus hangs out in the Chapman House, and gives children a chance to tell him their wishes. Mrs. Claus can be found across the way in the Baldwin House with cookies and punch.
Adults also had an event to enjoy, in addition to touring the buildings. An old-fashioned tea has become a staple of the first weekend of Christmas in the Village. Ladies make reservations year after year to have tea, sandwiches and desserts in the Lathrop House while listening to holiday entertainment. The tea party serves as a fundraiser for the historical society.
Every event the historical society puts on helps the community to learn about and preserve its past. The money that is raised goes back into the buildings for basic upkeep, renovations and projects. Recently, the Chapman House has been renovated to closely resemble how it was when the Chapman family – a fixture both in Strongsville and in the society – was living in it.
Tours of the village go on throughout the year, but the buildings are at their most stunning during these two weeks in December. The village is located at 13305 Pearl Road, Strongsville.