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There will be cookies, cider, coffee — and Claus.

Santa Claus that is.

All will be part of “Our Little Christmas Festival” on Dec. 1 at Fremont Opera House.

The public is invited to the third annual event that helps usher in the holiday season while serving as a fundraiser for the Broad Street landmark.

Admission is $5 for the event set from 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Guests may come and go as they please.

“This is a fun day of entertainment and Christmas cheer that helps keep the doors of the historic Fremont Opera House open,” said Lee Meyer, board member.

Various musical groups are set to perform.

The schedule includes:

  • 11 a.m. — Johnson Crossing Academic Center Select Choir directed by Marybeth Hilbers.
  • 1 p.m. — Fremont Middle School – ladies, men and show choir directed by Jennifer Grenier.
  • 2:30 p.m. — Midland vocal groups directed by Ryan Dusso.
  • 3 p.m. — Appreciation reception for outgoing board members and special recognition.
  • 3:45 p.m. — The Happy Players.

The Happy Players are a group of four young men whose specialty is polka music.

Band members Jameson and Jackson Brettmann, Turner Blick and Luke Eisenmenger comprise a group which has performed in several venues since their 2013 start.

Steve Steager, Fremont Middle School band director, helped put the band together.

The group performed at an open mic night at the Kolache Korner in Prague. Their first official performance was at the Czech Heritage Days in Prague in 2014.

After that, group members began playing at a host of events, restaurants and care centers. They’ve performed at the Fremont Friendship Center.

They won a John C. Fremont Days Talent Show.

In May 2016, the musicians were invited to play at the 50th Annual National Polka Festival in Ennis, Texas. The group performed with 18 other professional bands and played four different venues.

“They really had a good time and were well received, so that was a highlight,” said Jackson and Jameson’s mom, Libby, said in a previous Tribune article.

In December 2016, the group was among several that performed during a Christmas festival in the opera house.

“We hosted them as part of our holiday open house and the crowd response was tremendous,” said Chris Bristol, opera house manager.

The opera house performances committee decided to offer a show solely featuring The Happy Players — who performed a solo show in January 2017.

“They always bring in a great crowd,” Meyer said of the group. “They’re so much fun to watch.”

Besides music, the holiday event will feature the silent auction of Christmas wreaths decorated by Fremont businesses and individuals.

“We supply businesses with wreaths and then they businesses all decorate those wreaths,” Meyer said.

Proceeds from the silent auction also benefit the opera house.

This year, the opera house will have another special event.

“After several years, we are changing board members and so we’re thanking the outgoing board members and we’re having a little reception for them and for some of the people who have really worked hard these last few years for the opera house,” Meyer said.

Outgoing board members are: Bill Vobejda, president; Bob Yanike; Tom Brune; Chuck Diers; Marlene Simons; Marianne Simmons; Cindy Coffman; Larry Johnson and Carol Waring.

Those who donated $100 or more for repair of an outer opera house wall are: Larry and Irene Johnson; Dale and Fern Olson; Marianne Simmons and Bill and Joan Vobejda.

Bristol also noted: “We are super appreciative of First State Bank’s ongoing support for our Christmas festival and open house. They’ve sponsored this for the third year in a row.”

The Fremont Opera House, formerly the Love Larson Opera House, had its grand opening performance on Dec. 14, 1888.

In the mid-1970s, the opera house at 541 N. Broad St., became the first building in Fremont to join the National Register of Historic Places.

Main floor renovations to the building were completed in 2011 and plans are to renovate the entire structure, its website states.

A variety of musical and other entertainment takes place each year in the facility, which also is available for rent for receptions and other special events.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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