This weekend, the Town of Ocean View and the Ocean View Historical Society (OVHS) will be celebrating the holiday season, and is inviting the public to the festivities.
On Saturday, Dec. 13, from 1 to 4 p.m., the OVHS will be holding its annual Old Fashioned Christmas event at the society’s historical complex.
During the event, visitors can tour the historical complex, which includes a replica of Cecile Steele’s poultry house, the Town’s first post office from 1889, an outhouse and the Tunnell-West House.
The Tunnell-West House was built in the 1890s, is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and has been renovated over recent years by the society to house a number of area artifacts donated by community members or acquired by the society.
“This year we’ve added some different things to the parlor and moved the Christmas tree to the old-fashioned kitchen,” said Barbara Slavin, who serves on the society’s board.
Slavin said the historic post office would also be decorated for the holiday, with a tree and postcards, along with other artifacts on display.
New to the event this year, visitors will also be able to tour the Selby Evans house, built in 1887.
“Our intention is to have a new historical house on the tour every year,” explained Slavin, whose family has owned the home since it was built.
Slavin said the addition of another historical house within the town as part of the event was meant to allow the public who have attended the event in the past see more of the Town’s historical properties.
The Selby Evans home will be decorated for the season, and visitors will be able to tour the whole house.
Slavin said Evans was a farmer, and originally owned 300 acres within the town.
“He had it plotted out, so when he needed a little extra money, he would sell a lot,” she explained, adding of the original 300 acres, 17 remain.
Each location will have a docent who will help educate visitors on the historic buildings, as well as answer any specific questions they may have.
The event is free and open to the public. Those who attend will be able to enjoy light refreshments.
“The important thing is there will still be delicious refreshments,” Slavin said with a laugh.
During the event Len Wolek will entertain attendees by playing the mandola inside the Tunnell-West House.
The society relies solely on donations, and is always looking for more. Slavin said the society’s mission is to “preserve and share the rich history of these coastal towns through planned workshops, speakers, a quarterly newsletter and an exhibit in the old Ocean View Town Hall.”
Slavin said OVHS hopes to eventually open a Coastal Towns Museum in a historic home that was donated to the society, as well as construct a visitors’ center, in the guise of Hall’s Store, which was the Town’s name prior to becoming “Ocean View.”
“We would like to become a destination,” said Slavin, of hoping to draw tourists as well as residents to the historical complex. “You can’t go to the beach every day. You do need to take a little time and do something different.”
The society also hopes to have local school children visit the complex, and learn about the history of the area where they live.
She added that the last hour of the society’s event overlapped with the Town’s holiday event, in hopes to draw more people to the complex and the town.
“We hope everyone comes, learns something, and has a good time.”
That same day, the Town of Ocean View will hold its annual Holiday in the Park beginning at 3 p.m., with Santa Claus arriving at town hall on Millville Volunteer Fire Department’s antique fire engine, with a police escort.
“He’ll go into town hall, and visit with the children until 5. Then he’ll lead the procession out to light the tree,” said Town Manager Dianne Vogel.
While inside, children will have the opportunity to have their faces painted, make Christmas ornaments, and watch a balloon artist. While inside, attendees can enjoy free hot chocolate, cookies, as well as candy canes for the kids.
“The balloons are all done to the season,” explained Vogel. “She does reindeer hats for the kids, penguins, just a lot of different Christmas characters. It’s really a lot of fun.”
At 5 p.m., everyone will be invited to move outside into John West Park to light the Christmas tree and sing carols, led by councilman Bob Lawless.
Vogel said she hopes those in the community attend the fun events in town, and enjoy celebrating the holiday season.
“It should be a lot of fun,” she added.
To learn more about the Tunnell-West House or to make a donation, visit www.ovhistoricalsociety.org. The Tunnell-West House is located at 39 Central Avenue in Ocean View. John West Park is located at 32 West Avenue in Ocean View. For more information, call (302) 539-9797 or visit them online at www.oceanviewde.com.