Christmas festival preserves tradition and sparks memories - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Christmas festival preserves tradition and sparks memories

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Dozens of people gathered at Willow Springs Garden in Wausau Saturday and Sunday to celebrate Christmas the old-fashioned way.

The former town of Maine town hall buzzed with good-old-fashioned holiday spirit.

"The holidays get so busy," said Beth Bartelt, an event assistant. "It's nice to have a place where families can come and create some memories and do things that we did."

Parents and their children created memories by building gingerbread houses, tree ornaments and other holiday crafts.

While some visitors made memories, others say the family-style celebration brought back memories.

Visitors say they saw children making the same crafts they made years ago.

"We had a neighbor lady who would make popcorn balls," explained Mary Olsen from the town of Maine. "We would go to her house and make popcorn balls on a wood stove in a house with no electricity."

The carols and traditional holiday dishes reminded Elvira Saegel of being a child and spending Christmas with her family.

"We'd come home and Santa would be there," explained Saegel. "Santa had a strange way of not saying anything."

She remembers getting into trouble one year.

"My mom could have killed my dad because he was trying to get me to pull Santa's beard off," Saegel said. "My dad was laughing and laughing. He thought it was so funny."

Organizers say creating memories is the reason they host the Old Fashioned Christmas Festival.

Visitors say preserving tradition is what keeps them coming back.

The money raised goes towards maintaining a historic round barn in Wausau. Organizers say this barn was built in 1895 and it's one of the few that are still standing.

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