From The Sunbury News, December 1, 2016:

Because You Asked . . . .


By Polly Horn, Curator of the Myers Inn Museum

This article was started on the frontpage of  The Sunbury News in the December 1, 2016 edition. It was suppose to continue to page 2 but was cut.  any have asked what happened so here is the whole story.
  When the Town Hall was dedicated in 1868, oysters were served. Sunbury missed the Town Hallís 100th birthday but since the library was housed in the building, Community Library Friends decided to celebrate it with an Oyster-Chili Supper 10 years later in 1978. In 1981 the dinner moved into the K or P Hall and became the Feast of St. Nicholas named for a saint who performed miracles.


Merchants brought Santa to stores to visit with the children the week before Christmas so seeing St. Nicholas would not confuse the children when he led the diners to the Lighting of the Christmas Tree on the square. For many years, Dr. Paul Milem played St. Nicholas and more recently Dave Martin has done the honors.

While the Town Hallís structure updated, Community Library moved into the store front at 20 S. Vernon Street in September 1982. Hanging of the Greens on the first Saturday in December had been a popular program in the library for may years so Library Director Rachel Edwards took the program to the store front providing refreshments as a thank you to the patrons.

Village Garden Club, O.C.C.L. clubs and Library Friends decorated the square. Bill Fraley's students in the Big Walnut High School art department painted store windows. Community Library Friends invited all the merchants stay open. A parade began the evenings festivities.

John Faberís Boy Scout Troop 247 followed Chris Hale driving Charlie Haleís horses pulling yule log to the square and had a pinata for children to hit. Girl Scouts added a Moravian Love Feast in the Myers Inn to the
program. This was based on a 1727 tradition of

Yule Log


Christians celebrating love, peace and goodwill with each other. Other Girl Scouts decorated 12 Christmas trees from different countries.
The late Christie Manor of Sunberry Antiques added Roger Roberts as Town Crier and the Living Nativity to the festivities.

Community Library Friends added luminaries to the walks on the Square. The village turned on the Christmas Tree lights while the library passed around candles and all sang carols around the tree to close the evening. The event became known as Christmas-on-the-Square.

Roger Roberts
Town Crier

One year Christmas-on-the-Square fell on Pearl Harbor Day. Two men stood at the tree with lighted candles and tears running down their faces as they remembered. I waited with them. We did not speak but about 10 p.m. the candles burned down and we silently left.

Many changes to the evening have evolved. Most of the business are open that evening serving refreshments and many offer entertainment. Christmas-on -the-Square became so popular the Santa visit was dropped so twenty nine years ago, Rick Helwig grew a beard and became the town Santa. Chamber of Commerce added a carriage rides and a lighted parade.

Myers Inn has remained true to the original Christmas-on-the-Square and sees it as a time to say thank you to those who patronize us throughout the year. The museum will be open from 4 to 8, serve refreshments, have docents in the rooms to answer questions about the exhibits and some will demonstrate crafts of yesteryear. Once again the brass band made up of OSU alumni will play on the porch. This year Rick Helwig will portray Thomas Nastís Santa Claus of the Civil War era in the Inn.

Nast was an illustrator for "Harpers Weekly" during the Civil War. He was very popular with his homey scenes so the readers could see the soldiers celebrating Christmas as well as the homes missing the soldiers. His first Santa Claus illustration in 1862 showed Santa Claus in Camp passing out gifts to the soldiers from his sleigh pulled by reindeer as in Clement Mooreís 1823 poem, "The Night Before Christmas." Santa is wearing a cape of stars over his suit. Each year readers looked forward to Nastís Christmas illustrations.

Dobbie Gallagher, the Community Library chair of the Feast of St. Nicholas in 1981 reminded people in the community they had performed many miracles with their love, prayers and helping their neighbors. Although the feast no longer exists, the spirit lives on. Be sure to visit Sunbury Square the first Saturday in December to take part in an old fashioned celebration and add to your memories.



Click to see larger version of front page of
The Sunbury News, December 9, 1982


. . . . And Now You Know

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