Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD — Visit Fairfield Iowa and the Maasdam Barns Preservation Committee have teamed to create a new holiday event called “Christmas at the Barns.”
The public will have three chances to partake in the Christmas festivities at Maasdam Barns in Fairfield beginning the evening of Saturday, Nov. 27 and reconvening twice more the following weekend on Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4.
“Our historic Maasdam Barns have their own unique charm, history, and experience. But wait till you see them decked out for the holidays,” said Visit Fairfield Iowa’s executive director Terry Baker. “We’ll be building on our Dutch heritage and country charm to offer a unique holiday experience, from holiday trees to a vintage St. Nicholas riding in on a horse-drawn sleigh.”
Doug Smith will bring his team of horses and offer carriage rides around the barns. Children can roast s’mores, and there will be snacks for sale such as Dutch cookies.
The activities will take place in the Centennial Barn on the west edge of the property, where kids can do craft projects while their parents peruse items from the Maasdam Barns gift shop.
Baker said she met with Tony Webb of the Maasdam Barns Preservation Committee about creating a Christmas event at the barns, which had never hosted such a thing. They wanted to do something that reflected the barn’s heritage. They also liked the idea of splitting up the event over two weekends. Webb said many people are out of town for Thanksgiving weekend, which is why Christmas at the Barns is being held the first weekend in December as well.
The first two gatherings will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 27 and Friday, Dec. 3. The third gathering will be earlier in the day, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. Baker said the organizers made the third one earlier because it might be more convenient for families with small children. That Saturday, Dec. 4, also will feature Dutch oven cooking led by Therese Cummiskey.
For the two evening gatherings, guests are invited to line up along the lane for St. Nicholas’s arrival at 5:45 p.m. For all three events, St. Nicholas will hand out golden chocolate coins. The public can get photos with St. Nicholas from 6:30-8:30 p.m. during the two evening gatherings, and from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the third gathering.
Baker has been preparing for this event since July, and a committee of volunteers has been meeting in November to decorate the barns and get everything ready. She said the event is family-friendly, including “four-legged” family members.