Christmas Gala welcomes the holiday season

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune Sheryl Berry, left, joins Lory Miller as she stock more goodies during the annual Madera County Historical Society’s annual Christmas Gala on Sunday night.


Twinkling lights, boughs of holly, and penguins are just some of the handmade decorations on public view at the Madera County Historical Museum.

More than a thousand volunteer hours were necessary to assemble the extensive displays, according to information from the Madera County Historical Society, which operates the museum.

Youth groups participating in the community-service project included students from Lincoln, John Adams, Sherman Thomas and St. Joachim schools; Camp Fire groups; Girl Scout troops; and Howard 4-H Club.

The public is invited to visit the museum, open 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. for viewing Tuesday through Saturday next week. Admission is $2 per person or $5 per family.

This past Sunday evening, Dec. 3, the Madera County Historical Society held its annual Christmas gala to debut the decorations in the three-floor structure that comprises the museum.

Appetizers and home-baked confections provided by historical society members were served on the main floor. A ham and turkey dinner buffet was served in the upstairs courtroom and no-host beverages were poured in the basement. The courtroom’s theme this year is a mountain cabin.

Christmas carols and assorted holiday songs were played on an antique piano also on the main floor, by Mark Scheffing of Madera. Proceeds from a silent auction of donated baskets of home baked cookies, jams and candies will support museum projects.

In the original Madera County Courthouse, built in 1900, the museum houses artifacts depicting Madera County origins provided by the decendents of local pioneering families.

The name, Madera, is Spanish for lumber. The town and county of Madera thrived as wood from the Sugar Pine Lumber Company was 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 Sugar Pine to a railroad spur in Madera. Parts of that original flume, built by timber man William H. Thurman, are reassembled in the Timber Room of the museum.

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