St. Croix No. 1 Fire House Prepares for Community Christmas Party

 

By Lura Jackson

 

One of the biggest community-wide Christmas parties of the year is about to be held in Calais, courtesy of the St. Croix No. 1 Fire House Association. The association holds the party every year as a way of thanking the community for its ongoing support of the restoration of the historic building, which will soon be opened as a firefighting museum. 

The Christmas party includes a massive potluck featuring turkey, homemade beans and ham, and, appropriately, the only entry fee is that the association requests guests to bring something that will complement the main entrees. Organizer Dick Barnard suggests macaroni and cheese, vegetable trays, scalloped potatoes – “anything that we can put with that meal that will enhance it.” This year’s treats are being supplied by the culinary students of St. Croix Regional Technical Center, who will be baking and decorating Christmas cookies.

Aside from the feast, there are giveaways for children and adults. It’s been a long-running tradition that no child that attends the party will leave without a brand-new gift of their choosing from a large selection of donated gifts. That tradition will continue this year with the stack of gifts already piled high on a table in the main room. All adults that come will be entered into a door prize drawing for a decorated wreath or one of eleven centerpieces from Mingo’s Tree Farm. Additionally, “This year, it’s rumored that everyone will leave with something,” Barnard teased.

No Christmas party is complete without music, and every year the St. Croix No. 1 Firehouse has been graced by the merry sounds of John Viselli and Barbara Lapham and their musical companions. The musicians will be playing classic holiday songs and inviting everyone to join in an old-fashioned “sing-song”.

Among the biggest attractions each year for the children in attendance is a special visit from Santa Claus, who comes by special delivery from the Calais Fire-EMS department. Santa will be handing out treats provided by the fire department and the fire association.

The party will begin this year with a tolling of the restored bell in the firehouse. Immediately afterwards there will be a ceremonial sealing of the time capsule. The time capsule includes sentimental submissions from around the community, and it will be kept in the vault at City Hall. 

Every year the party has grown larger and larger as the building nears completion in its progress of restoration. This year has been a major one for the building, with its exterior brickwork repointed and the upstairs nearly finished. The only portion remaining upstairs is the floors. Once that’s done, the main hall downstairs will be returned to its original form with the walls removed and the suspended ceilings taken down. The goal of the association is to host both a 1926 Mack fire engine and a 1917 model, both of which will serve as the centerpiece of the firefighting museum when it opens. 

The organizers wish to thank everyone in the community that has supported the efforts of the association over the past 14 years, including the many volunteers that have performed work and those that have attended the various functions of the association. “It shows there is interest in the community in restoring these old buildings,” said Mary Barnard.

 

“These old buildings add a character and charm to a community,” agreed Dick Barnard. “People love these old buildings. If you don’t have something in them and keep them up, they just tend to go away.” 

The St. Croix No. 1 Fire House Association's Christmas party will be held on December 9th at 5:00 p.m.