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Christmas Gala welcomes holiday season

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Mark Scheffing plays Christmas Carols as Ila Schoettler looks on during the annual gala at the Madera County Historical Society Museum on Sunday.


Preserving the history of Madera is the primary objective of the Madera County Historical Society. On Sunday evening the society’s members debuted more than a thousand hours of volunteer service that decorated the three-floor structure that comprises the Madera County Museum.

Twinkling lights, boughs of holly, snowmen and gingerbread houses are just some of the handmade decorations created by society members and local school kids.

The theme was “A few of my favorite Christmas Things.”

At the party buffet stations serving appetizers and home baked cookies, candy and fudge were on the main floor, a dinner buffet of ham and turkey were served in the former courtroom upstairs and beverages were poured in the basement.

Christmas carols and holiday songs ranging from classical, baroque, ragtime and jazz were played on an antique piano by Maderan Mark Scheffing.

A silent auction for baskets of home baked cookies, jams and candies were sold to support the museum.

The original Madera County Courthouse, built in 1900, is home to artifacts depicting the origins of this community. Since the name, Madera, is Spanish for lumber the town and county of thrived as rough-cut timbers from the Sugar Pine Lumber Company were transported to the Central Valley from the foothills. Boards and planks travelled down a gravity driven 50-mile flume that ran from what is now Oakhurst (then known as Fresno Flats) to the railroad spur in Madera. Parts of the original flume built by timber man William H. Thurman are reassembled in the Timber Room of the museum.

The military room contains uniforms, medals and commendations from the sons and daughters of Madera who served their country. These and all the rooms have been visited by the spirit and glitter of Christmas.

This week and next the museum will be open for viewing Tuesday through Saturday evenings 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., through Dec. 10 and Dec. 13 through 17. Admission is $2 per person, $5 per family.


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