SIDNEY — Light snowflakes were fluttering down as groups of carolers, donned in Victorian garb, sang Christmas songs to those strolling past.
The scene was not only one from a Charles Dickens novel, but also one at the Montcalm Community College’s Heritage Village, the locale of the Heritage Village Holiday on Sunday afternoon. Formerly known as Santa’s Super Sunday, the 32nd annual event draws in hundreds of residents from all around Montcalm County.
“We had several on our board (the MCC event planning committee) attend events at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, where they had a Dickens-like scene,” said Gary Hauck, dean of Instruction and Faculty and one of Heritage Village Holiday organizers, “We took idea to the Heritage Village Committee, and they were on board to trying a new way for the festivities.”
Funding from grants was used to purchase pine garlands and a Christmas tree used to decorate many of the buildings, including the pavilion. Refreshments, such as doughnuts and hot chocolate, were served in the township hall. A sing-a-long took place in the church, and children made crafts in the schoolhouse.
“We had a steady crowd the first part of the afternoon,” said Hauck. “We did have a few complaints about the change in venue, that people didn’t like it because it was so cold. We will talk about the change and decide later if it is something we will do next year.
Children sat at the old-fashioned desks in the schoolhouse, stringing popcorn pieces and Fruit Loops to make chains for the Christmas tree. Santa Claus was listening to the children’s requests on the stage at the Barn Theater, with free photographs provided.
“This is my second year coming,” said Heather Toman of Sidney. “The kids (Max, 3, and Hailey, 4) wanted to see Santa Claus, and we like doing the crafts. I did like it back at the college. It is too confusing this way to know where everything is.”
Kelsey Helton was attending the event for her first time, and brought her children Blake, 18 months, and Riley, 4 weeks, to see Santa.
“I like the idea of having it at the Village, it is so old-fashioned,” said Helton of Crystal. “It is very cold, but I like it, I like it a lot.”
Those wishing to warm up were able to stop by the train depot and receive a free voucher for swimming at the MCC pool.
Rachel VanZoest of Stanton brought Reagan Johnson, 3, to get a photograph of Santa Claus.
“This is our first time here,” said VanZoest. “We dressed for a picture and not really to be outside.”
Hauck said the chance of cooler temperatures for an outside event in December in Michigan was a gamble.
“It just happened to be what is so far, the coldest day of the year,” he added.
Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.