Christmas celebrations, horse-drawn wagon rides, and caroling are on tap at the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in Iowa.
The site, home of the 31st president of the United States, will be the backdrop for "A Christmas Past" events from Friday, December 2, until Sunday, December 4. The festivities officially begin with the lighting of the tree in the Village Green at 6 p.m. on December 2. The University of Iowa's Collegium Tubum will be playing holiday carols on their tubas during this ceremony.
Main Street West Branch will feature brick fireplaces for roasting marshmallows, fresh-cooked doughnuts, and photos with Santa. Downtown shops will be open for business Friday and Saturday evenings, and the local churches will have a cookie walk, Christmas candy sale, and a soup supper. Horse-drawn wagon rides on December 2 and December 3 start at 5:30 p.m. from the Visitor Center of national historic site. The rides take visitors through the historic site and historic downtown West Branch. The last wagon rides begin at 8 p.m.
The Visitor Center, Herbert Hoover Birthplace Cottage, and Blacksmith Shop will be open to visitors on Friday and Saturday nights until 9 p.m. From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. items in the Visitor Center bookstore will on sale for 15 percent off. Park rangers and volunteers will lead craft activities at the Visitor Center from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Activities include card-making for soldiers overseas as part of "Operation Gratitude" in partnership with the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. A park ranger will demonstrate the art and craft of blacksmithing in the Blacksmith Shop on Friday and Saturday nights from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
A traditional Quaker open worship will be held at the Friends Meetinghouse at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site at 11 a.m. on December 3. The historic meetinghouse where the Hoover family worshipped was built in 1857 and is one of several buildings preserved
by the National Park Service as part of the park commemorating Herbert Hoover. Visitors are welcome to attend the worship meeting, which is similar to meetings young Herbert Hoover attended with his family.
The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum displays Christmas trees in its annual holiday exhibit. This year's holiday exhibit is "A Fairy Tale Christmas" featuring 20 trees each decorated to represent a different fairy tale. Special museum hours for "A Christmas Past" weekend are Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Free admission to the historic site begins Friday at 5 p.m. and continues throughout the weekend. Free weekend performances at the Presidential Library and Museum include stage presentations by The Young Footliters, Christmas carols by the Uncalled Four quartet and the West Branch Community Chorus, and a readers' theater performance of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
The annual Holiday Open House is Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with Santa Claus and free holiday refreshments served. For more information call the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum at (319) 643-5301 or visit www.hoover.archives.gov.
Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum are in West Branch, Iowa at exit 254 off I-80. Both are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. Parking is limited so please allow extra time to find a parking space.