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The Theissen Family perform a dramatic reading from A Christmas Carol Sunday at Fresno Flats (photo by Promise Dickey)

‘Christmas Past’ Celebrated at Fresno Flats

OAKHURST – The Spirits of Christmas Past, Present and Future made special guest appearances at Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park Sunday — along with a number of other traditional holiday favorites.

Cool, rainy weather couldn’t put a damper on the popular community celebration as volunteers and attendees enjoyed the day’s festivities — which included holiday-themed demonstrations, craft-making and a cornucopia of savory holiday treats.

A dramatic reading of A Christmas Carol — a nineteenth century story by Charles Dickens showing the evolution of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge through ghostly visitations — enraptured children and adults alike and was among the day’s highlights. Listeners gathered around the living room of the Laramore-Lymon Historic House to watch as the Thiessen Family dramatically transformed into the Laramores of the 1880’s to act out the Dickens’ classic.

Rebekah Thiessen demonstrates weaving

Hot cocoa, s’mores and spiced tea were enjoyed while a toasty warming fire was tended to by Sierra Historic Sites Association board member Brenda Negley along with several other volunteers.

A variety of hearty soups were available in the schoolhouse and volunteers helped children create their own handcrafted ornament. Jackie Byers, founder of the Vision Academy, played piano as choir members sang classic Christmas carols.

The Vision Academy of the Arts is a local nonprofit volunteer organization that provides scholarships for students, teaches classes in the arts for children and adults, and provides volunteer services within the community.

Vision Academy member Nicole Hoke said she is hoping to recruit new members “of all skills levels and positions” for the choir, which practices on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at the New Community United Methodist Church’s Whittenberg Hall.

Vision Academy Founder Jackie Byers plays piano for the choir.

The charming grounds and historic buildings of Fresno Flats were transformed for the occasion and decorated in style, providing the ideal setting for a neighborhood gathering that celebrates the holiday season the “old-fashioned” way.

At the event, a smorgasbord of bake sale treats also were available, and only those with the strongest wills could resist.

Father and Mother Christmas greeted children in one of the schoolhouses as Rebekah Thiessen gave weaving and wool processing demonstrations. Earlier this year at the Mountain Heritage Day parade, Thiessen and her family were recognized as Volunteers of the Year at Fresno Flats.

Proceeds from Sunday’s festive event go to the ongoing upkeep and maintenance of Fresno Flats, which seemed to make the calories easier to justify.

Information about volunteer opportunities, donations and the option to become a member of the Fresno Flats Historic Village and Park are available at fresnoflatsmuseum.org or by calling 559-683-6570.

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