Museum hosts 31st annual Christmas Festival

Museum hosts 31st annual Christmas Festival The Parade of Christmas Trees at the W.H. Over Museum became one of the season's first highlights on Sunday, December 6. It was a celebration of the Friends of the Museum's 31st annual Christmas Festival. Festival chairperson, Maxine Johnson, and her team have again pleased the Vermillion public with wonderful sights and sounds.

The trees, just one of the day's attractions, were decorated by numerous groups and individuals. For example, the Vermillion Garden Club, which annually plants the "V" bed on the Clay County Fairgrounds, plants trees to celebrate Arbor Day, and has made, distributed, and maintained dozens of bluebird houses in and around Vermillion, was the first to decorate. Most of the Garden Club's ornaments were made by members from seed pods of various sorts. The Quilter's Guild members used packages of thread and needles and the like while the Unitarian Fellowship decorated a large branch with original figures. The Parade of Trees will remain intact throughout the Christmas season.

The activities on Sunday afternoon began with dances performed by children from the Vermillion Dance Studio and was concluded with the harmonious tunes of the Gospel Buckaroos. Seventeen groups of people brought in their crafts, from early American spinning to Native American beadwork, baked goods, and collections, to share with the visitors.

One important addition to the Museum since the opening of the Block Memorial Exhibit that made it possible to have so many people, was the opening of the new space in the North Gallery which houses the exhibit, South Dakota: Land and People. With the near completion of a wall separating storage from exhibits, the new space was used on Sunday for the crafts tables. When finishing touches are made to the wall and the area carpeted, this additional space will house more of the Over's collections. After a ten year wait, it is truly a celebration to see the Museum's display area finally being finished. Most of the thanks for this accomplishment can be given to hardworking Alex Mehaffey (and his patient wife Anita). Alex, professor emeritus USD, past president of the Friends and chairman of Exhibits Preparation has put in many hours of work and planning. Fred Rupp, a Green Thumb employee, and Professor Emeritus Jim Schmulback have assisted in this accomplishment. When completed, the exhibits in this area will tie together the quality of our land with the movement of the various peoples which have lived on it through the ages up to today.

Since July 1997, the Friends of the Museum have been responsible for the maintenance of the Over Museum and the care and exhibition of its holdings. The Friends are a non-profit public corporation which began in 1967 under the leadership of renowned anthropologist James Howard. Membership is open to anyone interested in helping this wonderful museum grow and participating in its programs, including the opportunity to take or give tours and classes or to help in the gift shop. Call 677-5228 or 677-5277 for further information.

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