NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College and Kauffman Museum will be among the venues that sparkle with holiday lights during the annual open-house celebrations of Five Places of Christmas, Saturday, Dec. 5.
The free event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on that day, features, in addition to Bethel’s Goerz House and Kauffman Museum in North Newton, the Carriage Factory Art Gallery, Harvey County Historical Museum and Warkentin House, all in Newton.
Jennifer Mueller of the Newton Convention & Visitors Bureau said, “The Five Places of Christmas is full of warmhearted music, fine food and twinkling art. This event is sure to please all ages and kick off December with lots of holiday sparkle.”
Bethel College Goerz House (2512 College Avenue, North Newton)
After two years in other historic college buildings, the Bethel College Women’s Association returns to Goerz House for their annual holiday bake sale. The Queen Anne-style house located on the south end of campus was built in 1893 and restored a century later. Goerz House currently serves as a guest house for the college and will be open for tours during Five Places of Christmas.
This year, BCWA has chosen “Sounds and Symbols of Christmas” as their decorating theme. Goerz House will be filled with holiday decorations and music. BCWA members are famous for homemade holiday treats, including peppernuts from the Russian Mennonite food tradition. BCWA president Donna Becker advises: “Come early for the best selection!”
Carriage Factory Art Gallery (128 East 6th Street, Newton)
During November and December, the gallery is featuring 20 paintings by Douglas Trowbridge of Hutchinson. Trowbridge actively participates in regional and national exhibitions and is showing works that include figurative elements in a variety of landscape and interior settings. Members of the Newton Fine Arts Association will also display winter-themed landscapes. A third show is dedicated to miniature art and features small paintings submitted by artists from around the country and internationally.
Unique fine art, jewelry, cards and gifts are available for purchase in the gallery gift shop. Gallery director Joe Loganbill invites everyone to come for coffee and refreshments to toast the season in the historic setting of the former Newton carriage factory.
Harvey County Historical Museum (203 North Main Street, Newton)
The Harvey County Historical Museum is following a new decorating direction this year with trees throughout the regular exhibits. The “Homesteading on the Prairie” tree features handmade and old-fashioned decorations. Homemade treats will be served while visitors check out the “Decorations You Can Eat” tree. And there are more. Said Debra D. Hiebert, museum director, “Our volunteer decorating committee has outdone themselves this year, with new ideas, decorations integrated into exhibits and a fresh look overall. I love creative, visionary people!”
Holiday music will fill the Harvey County Historical Museum at 2 p.m. with a performance by the Rosewood Winds (Newton Medical Center is underwriting the annual music-in-the-museum). At 3 p.m., the winner of a Joseph Loganbill painting will be announced.
Kauffman Museum (27th and North Main Streets, North Newton)
Kauffman Museum will highlight its current special exhibition “Wheels: Transportation & Toys from the Collections.” Tricycles, railroad and truck toys, wagons and strollers were common Christmas gifts for children a century ago. The Five Places weekend will include a special display of antique and vintage dolls, including two black baby dolls, riding in buggies and wheeled toys.
Gifts for 21st-century families can be found in the Kauffman Museum store. “In addition to books on Kansas nature and history, puzzles and cards, we carry locally made items including wooden train sets and trucks, jewelry and hand-knit novelties,” said Andi Schmidt Andres, Kauffman Museum special events coordinator. Visitors will be served cider and homemade cookies.
Warkentin House (211 East First Street, Newton)
Each year, community individuals and organizations decorate the rooms of Warkentin House, completed in 1887 for Newton entrepreneur Bernhard Warkentin. This year, the Newton Etcetera Shop has adorned the dining room with vintage holiday ornaments. Community involvement continues in the Warkentin House tradition of featuring local musical talent – voice, piano and guitar – during the annual open house during Five Places of Christmas. Peppernuts and Mrs. Warkentin’s Russian tea will be served.
Board member Karen Penner said, “Recently a Newtonian visited and told me that she had no idea the house was so beautiful. Then she noted that she would be happy living here – it’s so homey! We invite everyone to experience our holiday spirit in one of Newton’s most elegant Victorian homes.”
Now in its seventh year, Five Places of Christmas has become a local holiday tradition for exploring local attractions. Kauffman Museum director Rachel Pannabecker noted, “Five Places is our joint commitment to provide windows to Christmas past and present with decorating ideas, gift suggestions and refreshments. Come celebrate the season with us.”