By Zachary Daum
A pair of events took place at the AG Building at Scheve Park in Mascoutah over the past weekend, masterminded by the Mascoutah Tuesday Woman’s Club (MTWC). Grinch Night, held on Thursday, Nov. 30, and Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child, which unfolded on Saturday, Dec. 2, showcased the community’s spirit and the club’s commitment to giving to the community.
Although Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child came about as an extension of the Santa Breakfast, Grinch Night came about after COVID forced changes to their normal Christmas event, explained MTWC Co-Chair Eileen Kuehn. She also discussed how Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child came about. “Grinch night has just occurred for two years. That was more because we do a lot of work for decorating and we just felt like, why not show it off to different events instead of just four hours for the children. Through the eyes of a child is a continuation of what the Woman’s Club has done for over 50 years that started as a Santa’s breakfast. Because of COVID, we changed it to a drive thru. And then for the last three years, it’s been a walk-through event.”
As another of the Co-Chairs of the MTWC, Susan Albrecht shared that the preparation for these events is a labor of love that takes several days of work to put together. “We started working on it late Tuesday night (before the event). It took us all Tuesday and Wednesday to get ready. It is truly a team effort to pull this off. We don’t just go in one morning and have it ready.” said Albrecht.
The AG Building was transformed into a festive wonderland, with a display of over 50 cardboard Christmas trees, each specially decorated, adorning the back wall. These trees had different themes, all designed individually by someone from the MTWC or someone in the community.
Grinch Night, in its second year, served as a spirited preview to the main event, Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child. Over 100 attendees gathered to kick off the festivities at Grinch Night, enjoying adult beverages and delicious food provided by the members of the Mascoutah Tuesday Woman’s Club. The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who, portrayed by Bob Nelson and his wife, Katie Nelson respectively.
Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child, the main attraction, unfolded on Saturday and welcomed 138 children to a fun, memorable journey through seven uniquely themed displays. Each display offered a gift, creating a memorable experience for the young participants.
The adventure began with animals outside, where FFA members introduced children to a variety of farm animals, including a duck, a chicken, two sheep, and a goat. Three angels, portrayed by longtime supporters Rosie Taylor, Edith Mueth, and Marie Dawson, greeted families and handed out bags to hold the gifts.
The nativity scene was a special highlight, allowing children to create a scratch art nativity ornament with religious words. A depiction of Joseph, Mary, and a baby Jesus doll added a touch of magic to this heartwarming segment.
The bakery segment delighted children with homemade cookies to decorate. Armed with icing, sprinkles, and creativity, the young bakers covered their cookies in sweet delights, creating personalized treats to take home.
Tall Paul, a 7-foot-tall character from the North Pole portrayed by Jason Holdener, captivated children with a festive story about his experience seeing Santa Claus. The storyteller, KK Schneider, and reader JoDee Norrenberns engaged the audience, where afterwards they gifted each child a coloring book and a crayola set.
The busy elves, comprising the Mascoutah Beta Club, Junior Beta Club, and Holy Childhood School, moved around the children as they worked on the toys for Christmas, mischievously bringing the children in on the fun. The children received a special ornament made by the Mascoutah Tuesday Woman’s Club.
The Robotics Group, led by Ron Hulliung from Mascoutah High School, added a futuristic touch. Kids had the opportunity to see a robot that delivered the robot snack pack comprised of cookies and juice.
No holiday event is complete without a visit from Santa himself. Each child received a single age-appropriate hardback book of their choice, adding the joy of reading to the festive occasion.
The event concluded with various games, including a small house, tic-tac-toe, and a ring toss, along with coloring activities provided by the library. The children spent about 45 minutes engaged in these delightful games.
Grateful for the support from the community, Susan Albrecht expressed her satisfaction with how the events unfolded. “Thank you for the support from the community,” she said. With 61 members and a welcoming spirit, the Mascoutah Tuesday Woman’s Club is eager to continue its tradition of spreading holiday cheer for years to come. For those interested, you may contact the Mascoutah Tuesday Woman’s Club on their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100095187548118 or by emailing them at MTWC1935@gmail.com for more information.
The MTWC wanted to thank all of those who helped make the events happen and provided a list as follows: Nicole Renner, Sarah Voss, Caleb Voss, Delaney Welker, Ryan Kinzel, Derek Albrecht, Mary Schmidt, St. John United Church of Christ, Jeanette Anguita, City of Mascoutah, Flowers, Balloons, Etc., St. Clair County 4-H Livestock Committee, Keith Lowry, Betty Ann Market, Mascoutah McDonalds, Leu Civic Center, Holy Childhood School, Mascoutah Public Library, MHS Beta Club, Dave Flach, Jason Holdener, MHS Robotics Team, Ron Hulliung, SAFB Airmen, MTWC Member’s Families and the MMS Junior Beta Club.
Looking ahead, next year’s Grinch Night and Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child events are already marked on the calendar for the first Thursday and Saturday of December, respectively. As they wrap up another successful year, the MTWC looks forward to creating more magical moments for the community in the years to come.