Courthouse Museum is decked out for holiday

mnorth@mercedsunstar.comNovember 28, 2012 

— It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Merced County Courthouse Museum.

Dozens of artificial Christmas trees are decked out and scattered throughout the museum as part of its annual Christmas Open House, which will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

The event started in 1984, the year after the museum opened, said Sarah Lim, director of the Courthouse Museum.

"We invite the community to put up their Christmas trees at the Courthouse Museum here," Lim said, adding that groups such as schools, businesses, churches and non-profits take part in the event.

Organizations started putting up their artificial trees this month, and they'll stay up through Dec. 30, Lim said. This year, more than 60 trees will be on display.

"It's very popular," Lim said. "Because so many trees are exhibited here, we call it a community Christmas."

Lim expects more than 400 people to go through the museum during Sunday's open house.

"It's really a fun one," Lim said. "For the school ones, the kids make their own ornaments."

Last week, students from Our Lady of Mercy School decorated a tree in the museum's historic superior courtroom.

The school is celebrating its 85th anniversary, said Veronica Jasso, who's in the school's parent club and is a teacher's aide.

"It's a great experience for the older kids to work with the younger kids and show our presence in the community," Jasso said.

Sunday's event is free to the public. There will be live entertainment from the Merced High School Chorus, Mariachi Tizapan, Harmony Valley Chorus, St. Paul Children's Choir, Maxwell and Friends, and Sol del Valle Dance Troupe.

The Merced County Courthouse Museum is at 21st and N streets in Merced.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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