Organizers are planning the third annual Christmas Celebration in Marion for the afternoon of Dec. 2. The celebration will include music, art, crafts, and a parade.
Meanwhile, Marion City Library will have its annual Christmas home tour, visiting two homes in Marion, one in the countryside, and one at Marion County Park and Lake.
Christmas Celebration in Marion will be 12:30 to 4:30 p.m., with most of the activity along Main Street.
“This thing has grown like you wouldn’t believe,” said organizer Jan Davis said.
Fellow organizer Jeanice Thomas agreed. She said it is shaping up to be the largest of the seven art and music strolls in town since they began in 2010. In connection with the celebration, 26 or 27 businesses will be open along Main Street, most with either live music or art or a Christmas collection on display.
Marion High School art teacher Janessa Wood will be the featured artist at Davis’ Gallery 101. Her artistic emphasis is in painting, especially acrylics, and horses are her favorite subjects.
“I love to look for new creative ways of capturing the beauty of this amazing animal,” Wood said.
She added that she enjoys painting almost anything, and she likes experimenting with other media and types of art, including photography, printmaking, and ceramics.
Wood’s artwork has been shown in four student art shows at Fort Hays State University and one solo art show in Hays. She credits her painting skills to her mother, who gave Wood her first crayons, paper, and how-to drawing books. She also said her father and painting professor were important influences.
Other artists featured include silversmith Emma Ehart of Hillsboro, who will have a display at Flint Hills Gold, and Kelly Siebert and her woodcuttings at the Marion Community Center. David Anderson will play harpsichord at Gallery 101, as well.
Other art on display will include blown glass, stained glass, and photography. There will also be bluegrass music.
The Marion City Building and Marion Community Center will be the center for a lot of activity during the celebration. A sleigh owned by Marion Ogden will be on display. There will be puppet shows for children in the basement. Food including homemade soups, bierocks, and cheese will be available. There will also be a display of Christmas trees in the community center.
“We’re saying it’s going to be a forest of trees,” Thomas said.
The community center will also be the site of a “can-struction” food drive for Marion County Emergency Food Bank. People can donate canned goods to be made into a sculpture at the community center, and when the event is over, the food will be given to the food bank. Thomas indicated people may also buy canned goods at the community center to add to the sculpture. Organizers are also planning a separate can-struction event for later in the winter.
At 3 p.m., the Christmas parade will go through downtown Marion with a band, floats, fire trucks, a covered wagon, antique cars, motorcycles, and several Santas. Pam Bowers is organizing the parade, Davis said.
The home tours, from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 2, will include the homes of Scott and Rolana Heidebrecht, Vickie Kraus, Bruce and Belinda Skiles, and Garry and Sharlyn Dunnegan.
Tickets for the home tours may be purchased at Marion City Library for $5 per person.
Scott and Rolana Heidebrecht’s 1890 fireplace is decorated with garlands, and an angel from Wee Willie’s Woolies sits on the piano. Rolana has a collection of snowmen that she often keeps on display until Valentine’s Day. During the evenings, the Heidebrechts often turn off most of the house lights so they can enjoy the Christmas lights. Their five sons also have holiday decorations in their bedrooms.
Bruce and Belinda Skiles have 50 red bows adorning the trees lining their driveway, and their porch swing is piled high with fir branches as garlands line the steps to the door. The original 1½-story house was built in the late 1800s and added to in 1923. The kitchen walls reveal original stone work around the sink and cabinets. Their living room Christmas tree is full of memories, such as rhino ornaments in memory of the late Pete Peterson. Other animal ornaments include horses, cats, dogs, and raccoons. Other decorations include horses made of baling wire.
Vickie Kraus’ home was built by the Hauser family in 1904. Her living room Christmas tree is in a bay window, so passers-by can enjoy it. The home is full of collections, including creamers in many rooms. She also has quilts on display in much of the house — some are antiques and others are her own work. A collection of miniature sewing machines began at age 10 when she received a tiny Singer sewing machine. The family room contains another Christmas tree, and an old wooden icebox. A large collection of American Indian tools and arrowheads collected on the family ranch is also located in the family room.
Garry and Sharlyn Dunnegan’s home at Marion County Lake is familiar to area residents as the old Kingfisher, but the public at-large hasn’t had much opportunity to see what it looks like since its conversion from restaurant to home. The restaurant was a Marion County icon for years. Visitors expecting a trip down memory lane are in for a surprise with how much the building has changed. There are only two echoes of its past as the Kingfisher — the view out of the breakfast room windows and a guest bathroom off the living room, which was once a café bathroom. Sharlyn loves Christmas so much she decorated two homes for the season, the one at the lake and the other in Wichita. The Dunnegans celebrate Christmas with a 20-foot tall tree in the living room, accommodated by the cathedral ceiling. The breakfast room and all the bedrooms each have at least one tree surrounded by packages. But the best gift is the view from the observation point at the top of the home; it offers a unique view from one end of the lake to the other.
And all of the homes have plenty of Santa Claus decorations. Belinda Skiles’ collection includes one Santa on a trapeze, while Vickie Kraus’ collection includes Western Santas accumulated by Kraus and her late husband, Don.