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Today's Family Magazine

Celebrate The Season at the Lake County History Center

Photo credit: Prelude Photography

By Deanna Adams

There’s always something to do at the Lake County History Center, but the holidays are indeed special.  “We’re always excited about this time of year,” says Amy Kapostasy, History Center director.  “This year, our displays are new and different as we’ve partnered with the Western Reserve Junior Service League and the Daughters of the American Revolution to re-create some nostalgic displays, in addition to what we offer every holiday season.”

The center’s mission is to preserve, educate, and honor the amazing history of the people and events that have been a part of Lake County lore for centuries.  While the Historical Society is known for capturing the county’s local past, as well as hosting activities and special events, the building itself, located in Painesville Township, dates back to 1876, and is considered a historic community gem.  Inside features permanent and temporary exhibits observing time-honored stories and culture with a museum that offers an array of exhibits, a research library, and gift shop. The eight-acre educational complex includes a restored vintage barn used for special events, with community meeting rooms, and reception hall.  

With a look toward the holidays, Kapostasy knew to bring back some honored seasonal displays, but she also had another idea.  For that, she enlisted the help of the local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), an organization of women who pay tribute to their heritage and make a difference in their communities, and also summoned members of the Junior Service League, which also honors history and traditions.  “These women are always so helpful and so I pulled them together and we had a few brainstorming sessions,” Kapostasy says.

Those talks led to the development of re-creating the former Candy Cane Cottage, the beloved holiday display that was housed in Carlisle’s department store in downtown Painesville from 1983-1987.

“Our vision was to bring back the holiday magic that so many experienced there,” Kapostasy says. “ I was especially excited to get Carolyn Blackwell on board because she used to be my art teacher in high school and she’s very creative.”

The new display not only took some creativity, but a little ingenuity as well.  “Carlisle’s was a blank canvas, with bare walls to paint and decorate, whereas in this building, we couldn’t totally duplicate the original look,” says Blackwell, who served as project co-chair, along with fellow WRJSL volunteer, Molly Hill. “The biggest reason was that there was nothing saved from the department store display so we relied on what was in the center’s basement, which actually turned out to be a treasure trove.”

The treasures included boxes of holiday ornaments, twelve sparkling trees, loads of garland, and vintage wreaths. 

Along with the Candy Cane Cottage, visitors will enjoy twinkling festive decorations throughout the building while wandering through the Enchanted Forest (featuring the Talking Tree!), the ever-popular Fantasyland (where Maleficent will cast her spell over Sleeping Beauty) and of course, see the jolly ole elf that is the very spirit of Christmas.

Not only will the big guy himself, Santa Claus, be on hand, but young visitors can enjoy breakfast or lunch with him (in their PJs) in the History Center’s Heritage Hall. Afterward, they will take a walk with Santa to the brightly lit event barn.  “The children will follow Santa out to the barn where each one will decorate their own holiday cookie to take home,” Kapostasy adds.  There will also be photo opportunities with Santa as well.

Dates for the Santa visits are as follows:

Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022  
Saturday, Dec. 10, 2022  
Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022   
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022   
Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022

Ticket holders can choose between three meal times: 9 am, 11am, or 1 pm.  Simply pick the date & time that works best for your family. Tickets are: $17 for adult, $13 for ages 3-12, and just $4 for children under 3.  Go to to purchase your tickets.

In addition to all of the festivities and displays, The Peppermint Lane Sweet Shop will be open so you can get your fill of holiday sweets and treats, along with delicious baked goods. 
Kapostasy is grateful for the many volunteers that put their time and efforts into events all year, but it takes a lot of Santa’s helpers to pull off Christmas.  “And this year, it’s been made even more special with the addition of the new Candy Cane Cottage display.” 

Details on these and more upcoming events are at

The Lake County History Center is located at 415 Riverside Drive in Painesville Township.  For more information, see, or call 440-639-2945.