Families

Ferndale Heritage Society offers non-commercial Christmas holiday tradition

Ferndale Heritage Society members Louise Sager, left, and Cheryl Gregor, both from Ferndale, make miniature apple pies at the Shields House during the 2014 Olde-Fashioned Christmas in Pioneer Park in Ferndale.
Ferndale Heritage Society members Louise Sager, left, and Cheryl Gregor, both from Ferndale, make miniature apple pies at the Shields House during the 2014 Olde-Fashioned Christmas in Pioneer Park in Ferndale. For The Bellingham Herald

The pioneer spirit is alive and well in Ferndale, especially during the Christmas holidays.

Linda Harkleroad, vice-president of the Ferndale Heritage Society, says that by digging in the history files, she “rediscovered” that she designed and created the program page in December 1993, the first Olde-Fashioned Christmas event in Ferndale’s Pioneer Park.

The 2016 event is Dec. 2-4.

“Our early founding ladies wanted to give back to the Ferndale community and bring back to life the pioneer spirit that was such a big piece of our local history,” she says.

The goal of the society and the event is to start off the Christmas season with a slower-paced, more sincere, and non-commercial Christmas holiday.

Four months of the year, the log cabin museums are open to the public for tours by knowledgeable guides. During Olde-Fashioned Christmas, every cabin offers a hands-on craft, or baking project, for children. In the schoolhouse, letters are written to Santa and mailed next door in the post office.

Amazingly, she says, those letters get answered by the North Pole mail carrier.

Attendance has averaged 1,700 over the past few years.

Kids of all ages find activities that entertain them, Harkleroad says.

“We have senior citizens in awe of the things in the cabins that take them to a time when they were young and enjoying their own family Christmas. Crafts in the cabins are typically geared for young kids and their specific age abilities. Refreshments are served and horse-drawn wagon rides are also included as part of the whole Christmas scene.”

Visitors will be warmed by a sense of what early pioneer life was like in Whatcom County, she says.

Details: 360-384-6461, ferndaleheritagesociety.com.

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