An old-fashioned Christmas party in Fallasburg rings in the season
By Emma Palova
It was a night to remember: good food, great friends and live music by band Hawks & Owls. After months of preparations for the annual signature event and fundraiser of the Fallasburg Historical Society (FHS), the party was a smash hit.
People streamed in from all over West Michigan, a sign of changing times; most of them found out about the party from Facebook and Twitter. The great coverage from the Lowell Ledger helped immensely.
For those who came late, there was no food left or libations. The Christmas buffet consisted of turkey and all the trimmings, two types of meatballs, pasta and stuffing, plus different salads and deviled eggs.
A lot of credit for the food goes to Patty Brechbiel, as well as other ladies of the FHS. The epic dessert buffet was partially created by Joann Childs.
The elaborate dessert selection featured nutty bars and devil’s cake, among others. But mostly it was the camaraderie of the event that brought it home.
The one-room schoolhouse was beautifully decorated with electric candles, and the drive across the lit Covered Bridge at the speed of walking enhanced the historic atmosphere of the pioneer 1840s village founded by John W. Fallas.
The party was capped off by a huge bonfire at the Fallasburg Base Ball Field.
“We never know how many people will come out,” said FHS president Ken Tamke. “This was a huge turnout.”
“Villager Craig Wood spent the whole year building the bonfire,” said Tamke.
The party started in 2006 and it is Tamke’s brainchild. Previously the FHS hosted a “wild game” dinner at the Fallas House. The Fallas House is small and not too many people could attend.
“We never made any money on it,” Tamke said. “The caterer did.”
Tamke lobbied to use the one-room schoolhouse instead, get a band, serve beer and wine, and to have a potluck.
“There was a brush pile in the field that first year, so we lit it,” Tamke said. “Craig Wood took over the fire. We’ve been going with the same formula ever since.”
The FHS volunteers put a lot of work into getting the old one-room schoolhouse ready for the annual event. This includes decorations, large round tables with red tablecloths and a buffet style dinner, while making sure everything works including the heater and electricity.
It is also the favorite FHS event considering the atmosphere in the historic pioneer village of Fallasburg all decorated for Christmas.
Everybody enjoyed the music by live band Hawks & Owls that has been playing at the party since its beginning. They played non-stop.
The huge bonfire warmed up the night in a large radius around it. People gathered in a circle around the bonfire for great conversation and to enjoy the warmth of the fire.
The bell in the belfry at the schoolhouse announced the end of the party.
More holiday festivities coming to Lowell:
Visit Santa on the Riverwalk with photos by Bruce Doll:
Saturdays Dec. 15 and Dec. 22 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesdays Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
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