If the weather for Grove City's Christmas Celebration on Dec. 2 was a bit mild, the conditions for the Century Village Open House and Historic Christmas Tour were more seasonable.

As light snow fell, the wind made spending time before the roaring fires in the Kegg-Kientz Log House and general store buildings at Century Village a popular activity.

While serving Christmas cookies and wassail in the Kegg-Kientz house, Grove City resident Norma Manby observed, "I think people like coming in here to get warm by the fire."

Manby and Morgan Myers, both volunteers with the Southwest Franklin County Historical Society, greeted visitors at the house.

Visiting Century Village helped guests get a better understanding of the hardships of life in the 19th century, Manby said.

"I try to share with people, the young ones especially, that the families who lived in this house during the 1800s were survivalists, really," she said. "They needed to be able to make their own clothes, grow their own vegetables and fetch their supply of water. There wasn't a supermarket they could go to or a sink with running water."

Outside, historical society member Ken Bowers welcomed visitors dressed as a village resident may have been on a cold winter day in the 1850s or 1860s.

Bowers said he enjoys his role as a historic re-enactor at events such as the holiday open house and the heritage celebrations held in the spring and fall.

"I was never interested in history, but the more I learned about the 19th century, the more fascinated I became," he said.

The items he wore at the open house included a wingbone turkey call that Bowers made using actual turkey bones.

"I try to stay in period and be as authentic as I can," he said. "I want to give people an understanding of what people were like in the early days, before our community was founded and the only trails were those created by buffalo."

In the general store building, Galloway resident Howard Metiva portrayed Saint Nicholas.

"Christmas was different in the 19th century," Metiva said. "In those days, you didn't get a lot of toys for Christmas. If you got an orange or an apple and maybe one simple toy, you were overjoyed."

Youngsters who stopped by had the chance to share their wishes and perhaps learn a little bit, too.

"It's so much fun for me, getting to interact with the children," Metiva said. "I'll tell you, the kids today are so sharp. They don't miss anything.

"I want them to understand there's more to Christmas than just getting a lot of toys. It's also about giving and thinking of others," he said.

"I try to teach them that you can have as much fun with something simple like a candy cane or a little toy on a string as with some modern technological toy," he said.

Along with the activities at Century Village, residents could also visit Grant-Sawyer Home, where they could take tours and admire holiday decorations, and the Grove City Welcome Center and Museum, which featured a holiday display of a winter model train village and a player piano performing Christmas music.

Guests could hop on a bus which traveled a route that included each site.

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