CHASSELL - In 1980, Einerlei store owner Nancy Leonard wanted to do something special for Christmas, so she enlisted the help of Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and hired someone to bring in horses and a sleigh. This was to be the start of Old Fashioned Christmas in Chassell, of which Leonard is now president. Since then, the event has grown, with a holidays house tour and gourmet tasting added in 1983.
Among the other events are a holiday handcrafts bazaar, cookie sale, a live outdoor nativity, a visit from Santa and cookie decorating at the Chassell Heritage Center Open House, all of which take place Saturday.
The event is funded mainly through donations, local business and the Chassell Improvement Association.
Gazette file photo
Elementary school students from Chassell decorate the Chassell Post Office as part of the Old Fashioned Christmas in Chassell festivities in 2010. A band concert, cookie sale and chili lunch are a few of the many events involved in the Chassell celebration this year.
"(The businesses are) very giving," Leonard said. "There's a lot of community support. And the Chassell Improvement Association exists to help make Chassell a nice place to live. That's why we do this. That's the point."
Leonard added that after the first event, the friendships made grew, and they have asked for more people to help.
"This is why it's lasted as long as it has," Leonard said. "An awful lot of people help out."
All of the events are planned in order to help raise funds for other groups or organizations.
Leonard is expecting people from as far as Wisconsin to attend the event, especially the house tour.
"That's what so great about the house tour," Leonard said. "It can pull from a wider area. And all of the Chassell stores are busy on that day. It's a great day for us."
According to Leonard, a lot of people enjoy going to Old Fashioned Christmas because it's a day when families can enjoy the festivities.
"There are things going on for the children, things for the adults," Leonard said. "It's a nice way of celebrating and sharing it with friends and neighbors."
Because of the small number of people on the committee who plan the celebrations and the number of years it has been organized, only one formal meeting was held to discuss preparations. And while some events may be added or changed, Leonard said it remains fairly static from year to year.
"We know what we have to do," Leonard said.
For the house tour, Leonard is expecting between 100 and 300 people, depending upon the weather.
"It attracts well and it's our big money maker," Leonard said.
The Heritage Center Open House should attract about 100 people and the craft show will be filled with people, according to Leonard.
Tickets for the house tour are $10 each and are available at Einerlei in Chassell, the Chassell Heritage Center and the Keweenaw Convention and Visitors Bureau in Calumet. The tour runs from noon until 5 p.m. For more information, contact Nancy Leonard at 523-4612.