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Old-fashioned Christmas at the museums

November 30, 2012

Tomorrow (December 1), the museums along the Oregon Trail in the Nebraska Panhandle will be hopping with holiday spirit.

ALL THE EVENTS ARE FREE!

THERE WILL BE TREATS!

THE MUSEUM GIFT SHOPS ARE GREAT PLACES TO GET UNIQUE CHRISTMAS GIFTS THAT SUPPORT THE MUSEUMS.

(Yes, I am shouting. I want to make sure you hear the message.)

The offerings include:

Chimney Rock Christmas on the Prairie

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Make gift bags and greeting cards

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Scotts Bluff National Monument Christmas on the Prairie

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Make Christmas ornaments and enjoy live old-timey Christmas music

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Farm And Ranch Museum High Plains Christmas

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Hayrack rides, marshmallow toasting, church choir, letters to Santa via Pony Express, yummy bean soup lunch (for a fee to help support the museum),

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North Platte Valley Museum Trees Along the Trail Christmas tree decorating contest

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View more than 2 dozen Christmas trees in the museum gallery decorated by local nonprofit organizations and clubs. If you wish, purchase $1 vote tickets – the proceeds support the museum and the organization you vote for.

Now, a little more on the NPVM Christmas tree contest, since I work there:

This is a truly heartwarming community event. It combines the joy of Christmas with the fun of discovery and the warm, fuzzy feeling of charitable giving. You can also pick up information about these organizations, so it’s like a holiday nonprofit/club fair. I so appreciate the community groups that put so much effort and creative thought into their tree decorations!

Yesterday the museum was super busy with tree decorators. We had more than 100 people here!

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Members of the Gering Merchants Association decorate their tree.

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Mentors and mentees of the TeamMates mentoring organization gathered to make ornaments to place on their tree. It was a chaotic glitter fest. It was awesome!

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The Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Center tree went up in a gale of laughter.

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The UNMC College of Nursing students had one of the largest groups working on tree decoration.

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It’s all smiles as the Operation Christmas Child tree gets its lights.

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The Los Guadalupanos Cultural Dance Group tree gets a warmup from chili pepper lights.

While the kickoff event this this Saturday, the Christmas trees will be on display through December 21. The museum will be open Tuesday-Friday 9-4 and Saturday-Sunday 1-4 during December, and admission is FREE! If you have not yet visited the NPVM, this is a great opportunity!

The North Platte Valley Museum is in a mustard-colored building in Oregon Trail Park in Gering, at the corner of 11th and J Streets. (We are right where the two southbound lanes of Gering’s main 10th Street turn to one through lane and a right-turn-only lane – a few blocks straight south of the Civic Center.)

We have, as of this moment, 29 trees in the museum gallery, representing the following organizations: The Village at Regional West, Riverside Discovery Center, Panhandle Humane Society, Team Ashtyn, Farm And Ranch Museum, Los Guadalupanos Cultural Dance Group, American Association of University Women, three Questers groups (Dome Rock Questers, Scotts Girls Questers, Scotts Bluff Questers 1346), UNMC College of Nursing Scottsbluff Nebraska Student Nursing Association, Scotts Bluff County Home Extension Council, Western Nebraska Agri-Women, NE DHHS Foster Care Program for the National Foster and Adoptive Parent Association, Gering First United Methodist Church sewing room, Delta Kappa Gamma Cradle Catchers, Panhandle Quilt Guild, Wildcat Audubon Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Scotts Bluff County Tourism for Platte Valley Attractions, NPVM director (your truly) for Legacy of the Plains, TeamMates Mentoring Program, Gering Merchants Association, Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Center, Potter’s Wheel Ministries, Sugar Valley Federal Credit Union for Children’s Miracle Network, The Midwest Theater, Operation Christmas Child, and Gering Kiwanis.

And now, a parade of ornaments, one from every participating tree. Can you guess which tree they belong to?

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I will keep updating how many tickets we have sold, and I will post the winners of the contest here, who will win additional cash prizes for their organizations, courtesy of H&R Block.

Tickets sold as of 12/21/12: 2,688

Winners (announced 12/21)

$100 First place: Daughters of the American Revolution

$50 Second place: Scotts Bluff Questers #1346

$25 Third place: Scotts Girls Questers

$50 President’s choice: Wildcat Audubon Society

See you at the museum!

PS – If you can’t make it to the museum but would like to support an organization with your vote, you may send a check payable to NPVM to PO Box 435, Gering NE 69341. Please indicate on the memo line the tree you wish to vote for, and make sure the check arrives before December 21 at 4 p.m.

UPDATE: North Platte Valley Museum permanently closed in 2013 to join forces with the former Farm And Ranch Museum to become Legacy of the Plains Museum at 2930 Old Oregon Trail in Gering. Artifacts from NPVM will begin to go on display as new phases of Legacy of the Plains Museum are developed. See the Legacy of the Plains Museum website for the most recent updates. The Christmas tree decorating contest tradition continues at Legacy of the Plains.

Copyright 2012 by Katie Bradshaw

One Comment leave one →
  1. Maurie Deines permalink
    December 1, 2012 8:39 am

    TeamMates mentors and their mentees (50 of them) appreciated the chance to give to the Christmas spirit within our community. What a gift…………..to watch mentors and mentees get to know each other better by creating an ornament that depicted the two of them. Thanks NPVM and FARM for creating the new Legacy of the Plains Museum. We look forward to working together throughout this process. Maurie Deines, TeamMate coordinator

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