Barton hosts holiday gathering
Many unfamiliar with Barton might simply drive through the community while traveling along Highway 224, but there were several opportunities to stop and enjoy holiday cheer last weekend.
The community's Christmas Corner took place from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15. The event featured Kris Kringle (Santa Claus) and his wife, Amelia Kringle, at Barton Store. The evening also included caroling and a live nativity scene at Barton Church and gifts available for purchase at the Barton Antique Mall.
Though Santa has stopped by the Barton Store for several years, this was the inaugural year of the additional offerings. Community members had been planning for the day since February. During the first half of the year, a committee met monthly to coordinate the details of the day.
"It's the first time we've coordinated something like this," said Ben Erickson, pastor at Barton Church.
One of the main goals of the evening was to show visitors all that Barton has to offer.
"It brings attention to the area. It's easily just a pass through, but this is an opportunity to stop at Barton Store, the antique mall and the church and sing carols and see the nativity scene and think, 'Oh yeah, that's the church I always pass,'" Erickson said.
Landis Marter, a member of Barton Church, agreed.
"It helps people become more aware that Barton is a community and not just a spot people drive past," she said.
Employees at the Barton Antique Mall said they enjoyed the evening and look forward to participating again next year. They are interested in potentially adding an activity at the store to draw more people in.
Don Burton, one of the event's coordinators, estimated that around 25 children stopped by the Barton Store to see Santa.
Along with showcasing all that Barton has to offer, community members also appreciated the live nativity.
"It's an honor," said Amanda Wiles, who portrayed Mary. "I've been imagining what Mary must have felt like — excitement and wonder when all these people showed up."
Chuck Moegelin and Gary Nelson, who portrayed two of the three wise men, were also happy to be involved in the live nativity.
They appreciated "going up there and celebrating the birth of Christ."
"It's all about that," Moegelin said.
Nelson added that it was also valuable to "get the word out more, and bring people (to Barton)."