By: Jesse Davis
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
The Museum of Fulton County’s third annual Christmas at the Cabin event was in full swing at the Fulton County Fairgrounds Friday evening as attendees of all ages enjoyed lights, activities, treats, animals, and even an appearance from the Grinch and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
Most of the action was in the Jr. Fair building, where local businesses, agencies, and organizations gave children the chance to participate in holiday activities while their parents learned more about the opportunities in their community.
Employees of Ohio Means Jobs ran several tables, where children made ornaments. Among the staff was Diana Howey, an instructor with OMJ’s Future Fulton County program. Her students from Delta helped set up for the event throughout the day.
“In my program we’re helping juniors and seniors in the Fulton County high schools with manufacturing,” Howey said. “We offer state-certified testing, and they can get credit toward graduation.”
“Some of them are credit deficient and it helps them reach graduation and get a graduation seal to help them meet all their goals.”
Former five-year museum employee Scott Lonsdale helped run a nearby table for his new employer, Monarch Investment and Management Group, which manages several apartment complexes in the area.
“As a former employee of the museum, I was like ‘What can we do?’ And they said do a kid’s activity. I talked to our regional manager here, Nikki Moodt, about if the company would be willing to support it, and they were 100 percent behind it,” Lonsdale said.
Moodt said she was excited by the opportunity to be involved. “I think this is great,” she said. “I’d like to do more in the Toledo area. I manage five properties down here, but we have 11 properties total in the Toledo area.”
Trinity Lutheran Church of Wauseon was represented by Rollin and Lonna Britsch, who had a variety of coloring pads and stickers available for kids who stopped by to see them.
“(The church was) asking for volunteers and I thought what else are we going to do on a Friday night?” Rollin joked. “We just wanted to help, donate our time, and spread Christmas cheer.”
It was their first year of being involved in the event, but both said things were going well and they were enjoying the opportunity.
The Maumee Valley Guidance Center has been involved for all three years, and was represented Friday evening by Kali Leatherman and Harley Shock.
“Tonight we’re making reindeer for the kids and all the popsicle sticks have encouraging words on them so they can take a look at the back of them and encourage themselves,” Leatherman said.
She said the organization’s mission is focused directly on community involvement. “We go to the schools a lot, we provide social/emotional programs. (Shock) works out at JDC and does programming there,” Leatherman said.
“We do a lot of mental health things – we are a mental health agency, so we advocate for mental health in communities in the four-county area.”
Museum Trustee Chris Beck was thrilled with the event’s opening night. “It’s going great. I don’t know what our crowd is so far but it’s definitely more than we had last year on Friday night,” he said.
“Last year we had well over 700 participants and we’re hoping this year we’ll go over 1,000, and I think we will. I haven’t gotten the count yet but I’m going to say we’ve had well over 300 so far tonight.”
Beck said he has been a trustee for more than 20 years and has been involved in the event since it began, this year serving as co-chair. He also praised the assistance of Howey’s students.
“We had high school kids from the Future of Fulton County program and they came out today and they spent most of the day setting everything up, doing all the lights, the whole thing. It was great,” he said.
The Christmas at the Cabin event spanned Friday evening through Saturday afternoon.