Christmas officially arrived at the Hertzler House at George Rogers Clark Park on Dec. 4 with the house museum’s free Christmas Open House.
The public was invited to take self-guided tours to look at the Christmas decorations festooning the important local landmark. Guests also enjoyed homemade holiday refreshments and live Christmas music played by local artists. Barbara Arnold of the Clark County Park District (CCPD), the group that runs the Hertzler House, says the annual event has been taking place since the 1990s.
In recent years, the Hertzler House has taken to implementing a different theme for the yearly event. The 2016 theme was “Angels,” and CCPD members’ angel collections were on display throughout the home. Guests had a chance to win a prize by writing down the name of a different song with the word “angel” in it each time they found a numbered angel on their tour.
Helpful tour guides were stationed in the gaily decorated rooms to answer guests’ questions about the rambling home built in 1854 by Daniel Hertzler. A conversation with a guide revealed Hertzler, a German, very likely would have had a Tannenbaum (Christmas tree) in his home since they come from the German tradition.
 A highlight of the event was the live music provided by the all-girl group, Lafferty Pike. The sisters say the group’s name is a nod to their Kentucky heritage. The group typically plays bluegrass, but went a bit more formal for the open house by using a harp and other string instruments for the traditional arrangements of Christmas carols and holiday songs they played and sang. Audience members even joined in the singing on occasion.
A guest who has been attending the event for many years says, “I always look forward to coming to the yearly Christmas Open House. Everyone does such a nice job with the decorations, the rooms are just beautiful. The music is wonderful too, it really adds a lot (to the event). What a great way to start the Christmas season!”