The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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        Once Harbor View residents decided to turn their holiday celebration into an open house, it became a community affair, drawing about 70 guests.

        We’re talking participation from nearly every neighborhood along the shoreline, including Oregon, got involved in the Christmas open house at the Harbor View Historical Society museum.

        “It just went off the grid,” said retired U.S. Navy Chief Warrant Officer Mike Joseph, a Harbor View resident. “I’ve never seen that many people in the facility before. Every inch had people visiting and crafts, and, oh my Gosh, they really did a nice job of pushing this event. The Christmas carolers who came up pushed it over the top.”

 

        Organizer Karen Peterson agreed that the carolers brought the event to life.

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Rowyn Diegel, Joyce Plumb and Diane Cammarn help out with holiday treats. (Photo by Josh Ryan jryanphotography419.com)

        “The carolers who came from Oregon Parks and Recreation — they were awesome,” said Peterson. “They were so great. There were like 20 of them. I thought we were going to get three or four people to come out, but there were 20 and they came in and we all sang songs together and all the kids sat down and we really enjoyed it — you could see that.”

        Dozens of children from Harbor View and Oregon left the party with treats and gifts.

        “These kids had to have a tote to take stuff,” Peterson continued. “They got a good-sized bag of candy, a bag of fruit, they got stuffed animals, they got coloring books, they had games to play, and it all came together in two to three weeks. But, you know what, God always has a way, just bringing me to that museum.

        “We were worried that if we had too many we wouldn’t be able to make it fun for them, so this worked well and we know where we need to go if we do it again. I’m looking forward to doing more projects with Mr. Joseph. He was awesome. He was so easy to work with and he was a gas. I had people call me the day before the party and say, ‘Can I come to your party and help?’”

Changing up the party

        Harbor View, a small incorporated village surrounded by Oregon and Lake Erie, has always held a Christmas party, but it was primarily intended for residents. Opening to a larger community made a difference, it seems.

        “I’ve done it with the community for 18 years, on and off, I helped the community put it together. I was one of them that first started it,” Peterson said. “But, it was a big sit-down dinner and the kids would get bored.

        “The guy who took it over just decided he couldn’t get enough help, so I talked to Mr. Joseph and said, ‘Let’s just do an open house walk-through’ and keep it simple with Santa. Once we found out the community wasn’t going to do anything on Thanksgiving, we decided we were going to do this.”

        The Press doesn’t like to always toot its own horn, but Joseph did that instead.

        “It was always a smaller gathering just for the village,” Joseph said. “This year, we opened it up, and thanks to The Press we were able to do an ad that covered 32,000 homes, and you know sometimes when you are fishing, it depends on the bait you use, but the place was packed.”

        Joseph said sponsors included Lee Williams House of Meats, BP Refinery, Chem Trade Corporation, Vito’s Pizza (Oregon), Harbor View Yacht Club, the Village of Harbor View, Christ United Methodist Church, and he said there were others who gave gifts.

        Plus, a professional Santa Claus lives near the museum, and he gave up his time for the children.

        “Santa came over and initially he was only going to spend an hour with us, and then he came in and saw the place was packed and says, ‘Maybe I can rearrange my schedule. Schedule the reindeer off for another day or something,’” Joseph said.

        Peterson added, “Santa was with the kids, and we had more kids than we had adults, which is what I wanted because in the past we’ve always had the party for the community, but it seemed like it was always for the adults with door prizes and stuff. Kids couldn’t come unless the parents came. It was in the evening, and this year we had a lot of kids from the community. I’m hoping and praying that it grows and we can get more word out next year because it’s open to anybody, but we are basically trying to stay with the south shore of the bay.”

Teens her biggest asset

        Peterson said a group of pre-teens and teenagers were her biggest asset, along with adult volunteers from Christ United Methodist Church.

        “The kids in the community were awesome,” Peterson said. “I’m kind of older so I don’t move as well as I used to. They would see my car there and they would come in and help me set up, help pull tables — anything. They would come and say, ‘Miss K, is there anything else you need?’ They were doing everything for us, so I’m going to do a little luncheon for them when they are out of school.

        “I think I had four of five volunteers who stayed with us and were very active,” Peterson continued. “It was funny because we started at Thanksgiving. This was when we said, ‘Yeah, let’s do something.’ And, all of a sudden people were coming out of the woodwork, calling me saying, ‘Hey, I got these, I got this, I have some stuffed animals from the last party.’

        “I had Chem Trade and BP both send checks. Chem Trade got me $300 in gift cards and BP called me and said they sent a check to the village for $500 for community outreach. By then, I had already started purchasing stuff and Mr. Joseph and I were already absorbing a lot of the costs, although I’m a pretty good barterer. I know people, I know places, I guess you could say.”

        Holiday parties in Harbor View have not always been limited to Christmas, either. Not only was there once a Thanksgiving meal, but also a Halloween party.

        “We used to have a Halloween party that was a blast,” Peterson said. “The sheriff would send out one of his guys and they would lead a parade through ‘The Harbor.’ Now, you know the village and how big it is — can you imagine? And, we had trucks for people who couldn’t walk it, but there would be 50 people who walked through and made all kinds of noise. The kids loved it. We always ended up that party with a silly string fight. I would drop 150 cans of silly string and that was the end of year festivities.”

        Maybe, just maybe, Peterson wants to bring that back, too.

        “We’re looking forward to doing more,” she said. “I’m hoping that this church can come into the community and do a little more community outreach, because we have some kids in this area that are borderline, and we have some families that are in need and they don’t need to be neglected.”

       

         

 

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