Lang Pioneer Village comes alive at Christmas time. The historical village just North of Keene Ontario and Rice Lake puts on a show near Christmas that takes visitors back to Christmas nearly 200 years ago. It is a pioneer spirit of do-it-yourself decorating, giftmaking and activity the night through.
A light path leads to the entrance of Lang’s Christmas by Candelight festival. The night was certainly chill with damp humidity and despite the prospects of snow only small remnants were to be found around the village [and of course a weekend later there has been more than enough snow]. But things were warm inside where the Misty Hollow Troupe of Spoon Tatters provided some spoon playing fun in the main entrance building as you entered into the Village.
Just across the way was Santa greeting the kids while around the corner kids and parents could create a wrapped candy Christmas gift popular as a stocking stuffer in pioneer days as well as present times:
In the village there were candle and lamplights in each of the Lang houses where exhibits were on display. From the outside, these Window lights cast a warm glow on the whole village.
The Milburn House right opposite the Main Building had a demonstration and sampling of a pioneer recipe – carrot pudding. There was also a display of traditional gifts and stocking stuffers. And just up the road Hastie Carpenter Shop showed visitors some of the wood crafts used to make sleighs and other winter wares. And right across the road the Fitzpatrick House had insights into pioneer Christmas time including roasting chestnuts over the fireplace [delicious with a coating of powdered salt] and making red Christmas dolls with just fabric and thread as seen below.
There were other attractions at the FitzPatrick House and Fife Cabin – most notably both showed how important a fire and warm bedding were for the pioneers. True the constant traffic in out of the structures surely added to the chill – but this party was thanking his warm bones for modern heating conveniences like at the Weaving Centre.
Village Green Fair
The Village Green is often the site of many special events at Lang Pioneer Village. So it was no surprise that Christmas by Candlelight takes advantage of the Village Green area first for Christmas Carolers in the midst of the Green followed by a Nativity Scene with narrations and carols. Then the Carolers joined the fun at the Douro Town Hall where the Muscovy Ducks delighted visitors with more Christmas Carols and songs of the Pioneer era.
Just up from the Town Hall Caroling, Glen Alda Church cast an air of Christmas dignity to the scene.
and right next to the the Church is the Weaving Center where Christmas stories were read, winter scarfs were made on a practice loom and exciting developments are nearing fruition [see the slideshow]:
Across from the Weaving Centre is the Menie General Store where Christmas goodies were for sale.
The general store has the look and feel of the Confectionary shop right next to McKinley Grade School where many packs of baseball and hockey cards were bought in days gone bythis gum collector.
And right next door is the Keene Hotel where the chatter and fun was in the siderooms where cards games, pool shooting and and krokinole could be played. Okay, there was also lots doing in the back where cider, cookies, and hot chocolate were available and there was a nearby massive dining room table to sit down and enjoy the warming brews
Despite the hustle and bustle at the Keene Hotel, there were small redoubts of gaslight and candle flames that added a luminous luster to the scene.
Lang Festival Surprises
Each of the Lang Special Festivals has a surprise event or staging that catches your attention. The October Halloween Fest had the many Djackos and the haunted Apple Cider Barn. The Apple Cider Fest has all the fun and games at the South Lake School House. And Christmas by Candlelight had the Spoon Tappers seen at the beginning of this post and the the Tincraft showing at the TinSmith Shop:
In sum, Christmas by Candlelight is chock full of fun holiday activities and cheer for the whole family to take part in. And the look back at Christmas in Ontario 140 to 200 years ago is full of fascination and insight into Pioneer life. What comes across clearly is that daily life and entertainment was full of self provision and a do-it-yourself mentality but also group social gatherings and rich community activities. And finally for modern day photographers out on a chill night – this phototale shows some of the beauty to be had at a Christmas by Candlelight.