Visions of holidays past and present will dance at the annual tour of Five Places of Christmas Dec. 6, featuring Newton arts, culture and education organizations.


Visions of holidays past and present will dance at the annual tour of Five Places of Christmas Dec. 6, featuring Newton arts, culture and education organizations.

The “five places” are the Carriage Factory Gallery, Harvey County Historical Museum and Warkentin House, all in downtown Newton, and the Bethel College Administration Building and Kauffman Museum in North Newton (see accompanying schedule). This event is free and open to the public.

Each of the five locations is decorated with a distinctive style. The Carriage Factory Gallery is featuring its fourth annual “World of Miniature and Small Art” with more than 50 original works of art from locations as varied as Iran, Australia, Belgium and England, as well as across the United States.

“It’s difficult to choose a favorite, but among the most unusual are definitely a pair of exquisite watercolors painted on camel bone and a sculpture spider created from every day objects,” said Carrie Lewis, gallery director.

Fine art photography and other original art will be for sale in the gallery gift shop along with calendars, notecards and gifts with an artistic flair.

A cowboy theme permeates the open house this year at the Harvey County Historical Museum and Archives, where visitors can tour the current special exhibit “Up the Beaten Path: Following the Chisholm Trail, 1867-1872.” At 2 p.m., cowboy singer Mike Flavin will entertain during “Music at the Museum” sponsored by Newton Medical Center.

“We also show another side of history — come enjoy our themed Christmas tree featuring homemade handwork that will kick off our upcoming exhibit called ‘Accomplished Young Lady,’” museum director Debra Hiebert said.

Refreshments will be served, and holiday gifts with a local history emphasis are available at the Tumbleweed Mercantile.

The Queen Anne styling of the Warkentin House provides a distinct counterpoint for their annual open house. Each room in this Victorian mansion is being decorated by board members and friends of the historic house.

The Newton Treble Clef Club will give the music room a musical theme, while the Newton Et Cetera Shop will show dolls in the nursery. The library features nativities arranged by the Bethel College Women’s Association. Decorating coordinator Kem Nicodemus pointed to the wonderful groupings of Santas, organized by Linda Stevenson and Donzella Shepler, in Carl’s room. Pat Randall and Shelly Thomas will decorate the dining room, where visitors can see more Santas while enjoying Mrs. Warkentin’s Russian tea and peppernuts, and music throughout the day from youth in the Newton community.

To celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Bethel College Administration Building, the Bethel College Women’s Association is decking its halls for “an old-fashioned Christmas.” Visitors can tour the decorated lobby and chapel of the limestone structure that was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style by Wichita architects Proudfoot and Bird.

During Five Places of Christmas, BCWA will host its annual holiday bake sale, including traditional treats such as zwieback and peppernuts. The new Ad Building tree ornament will be available for purchase along with cookbooks and BCWA merchandise. A free shuttle will be provided between the Fine Arts Center parking lot (on Minnesota Street between 25th and 27th Streets) and the Ad Building.

Across Main Street from the college, Kauffman Museum will host its annual open house for the public with refreshments and a special holiday sale in the museum store. Unique items include Russian nesting dolls (matryoshka) and a new children’s storybook on making verenike, a filled dumpling that is part of Russian Mennonite food traditions.

“We have more collectible chinaware designed by Newton native Mary Lou Goertzen for Block China, said Kristin Schmidt, museum store assistant. “The red and green poinsettia design has been very popular for entertaining at Christmas.”

The open house includes free admission to the new special exhibit “Pathways of Tradition: Native American Footwear, 1860-1930” organized by local collectors Keven Hiebert and John Torline.

Five Places of Christmas was organized in 2003 as a cooperative holiday event by Newton area cultural attractions.

“The Five Places of Christmas event is an opportunity to showcase our community’s fine cultural attractions,” Jennifer Mueller of the Newton Convention and Visitors Bureau said. “Our office values the efforts that each attraction contributes to making the event special for the public. Therefore, we offer administrative support with advertising and development. We look forward to this year’s event and many more to come.”

All activities are free to the public, with donations accepted by each of the five organizations.