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Volunteer shortage at Eckley

One day of Christmas program at historic miners village had to be canceled.

FOSTER TWP. – Eckley Miners Village has a core group of dedicated volunteers, but not enough to prevent the cancellation of one day of its two-day Christmas program last weekend.

Museum educator Bill Strassner says the museum can use some more help from people who have an interest in the area’s anthracite heritage.

“We could always use more volunteers. It’s hard to find people willing to give up both a Friday and a Saturday afternoon,” Strassner said on Monday.

More than 100 kids attended Saturday’s Children’s Christmas Program, which included seasonal arts-and-crafts projects, storytelling, wagon rides, guided walking tours of the village, baking cookies on a coal stove and a visit from St. Nicholas.

But while village volunteers received many phone calls from the public inquiring about an identical program originally planned for Sunday, it was canceled because of a lack of available volunteers, Strassner said.

Strassner said the village has about 40 volunteers, 50 if you include the Eckley Players – a troop of living-history actors who put on interactive plays, such as a coal miner’s wedding and the eviction of a coal mining family from a company home.

In addition to the Children’s Christmas Program, volunteers staff the village and museum for numerous events through the year, such as:

• Charter Day – a statewide celebration with all historic sites within the state Historical Museum Commission that includes period games and arts and crafts activities for children – in March.

• A Spring Lecture Series in April and May.

• Patch Town Days – an anthracite heritage festival focusing on the history of the anthracite coal region with period demonstrators of crafts and trades from the 19th and early 20th centuries and performances by the Eckley Players – the last weekend in June.

• A three-day Children’s History (day) Camp in July.

• An Old Time Fiddle Festival and contest in July.

• A two-day Civil War Encampment in August.

• A Fall Lecture Series in September and October.

• Halloween Lantern Tours and Wagon Rides – the village’s largest and most popular event – on two three-day weekends in October.

HOW TO HELP

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer at Eckley Miners Village in Foster Township can call Bill Strassner at 636-2070 or email him at the Web site www.eckleyminers.org.

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