As I make one last round through Pioneer Park in Ferndale, just before the start of another Olde Fashioned Christmas, I marvel at the transformation.
As the coordinator of Olde Fashioned Christmas for the Ferndale Heritage Society, I see how this event captures our mission statement of educating the community on the history of Whatcom County and promoting Pioneer Park.
As a group, the Heritage Society collects and maintains the artifacts in the cabins, and Olde Fashioned Christmas puts them on display in a vintage Christmas scene.
I notice the wooden snow people out for another year. The white, twinkling icicle lights hanging from the eaves of the cabins. Through the windows of the houses I can see lights and movement as the volunteers inside make their final preparations before we open to the public.
The ticket takers are set. The greeters at the entrance are ready for the cold evening with their heavy woolen costumes. They look like they stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting.
I pop into the Tillicum House to check on the kitchen help. They're prepared with cookies and hot chocolate for all the visitors.
The church is ready for the first set of musicians, and draws me in with its simple, woodsy decorations. I can imagine a winter wedding from the late 1800s looking much like this.
The Foster House is a wonderland with the miniature villages set up along the display cases.
The Shields House is bustling with activity. Apples are being peeled and cored in the kitchen for homemade applesauce. In the living room, Santa and his helper are ready for their first little customers. The smell of lavender comes from the upstairs craft table.
Next building over, the Parker House Store is open for business and I remind myself to stop in later and pick up a couple of last-minute gifts. The upstairs pharmacy is ready, too.
The Veterans' Museum is honoring our troops with a chance for everyone to sign a card to be sent overseas. I have to be sure to add my thank you to the list.
I peek in the Larson House's decorated windows for another glimpse into the past.
The barn is warm inside with the horses and workers readying the wagon for rides.
I check on the Jenni House and they are ready with crafts downstairs and dancing upstairs, much like it would have been in the late 1800s when it served as a stagecoach stop.
I know that the schoolhouse is a favorite of the children as they sit in old-fashion desks and write letters to Santa, just as children have been doing for more than 100 years.
The Post Office is ready to accept those letters for mailing to the North Pole. All of them will be answered again this year.
Even the small jail and outhouse have been decorated.
A light snow would complete the picture, but the warmer weather is appreciated.
My rounds are complete and I reflect on the many volunteers who come together each year to make this community event a success.
During these three days, the Ferndale Heritage Society will host nearly 2,000 people who will come to visit the past. They will delight in the decorated cabins, participate in old-fashioned activities and make wonderful memories.
The time will go fast, and before I know it we will be planning our next events.
The education program in the spring will have these same houses bursting with activity as 1,000 schoolchildren, teachers and volunteers learn to chop wood, wash clothes in the old-fashioned washtub, dip candles, make rolls and experience other pioneer chores.
More volunteers will costume-up and preside in the cabins during the last weekend in July for Old Setters Days.
But for tonight, I'll be content with one more Olde Fashioned Christmas memory.
Linda Harkleroad has been with the Ferndale Heritage Society for 15-plus years and currently holds the office of vice president. Besides volunteering for other groups, including a car club, gardening group and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Linda has worked at Alcoa Intalco Works for 33-plus years in environmental affairs. She and her husband, Wayne, live at Neptune Beach in Ferndale. They love gardening and camping along the north fork of the Nooksack River.
Window On My World is an occasional essay in Monday's Bellingham Herald that allows Whatcom County residents to share their passion for what they do, an idea or cause they support. Send your Window On My World, which must be no more than 700 words, to Julie.email@example.com.
IF YOU GO
Tickets for the Ferndale Heritage Society's Olde Fashion Christmas are $4 for adults, $3 for children.
The cabins at Pioneer Park, 2004 Cherry St., are open 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 30, 1 to 9 p.m. Dec. 1 and 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 2.