Christmas Concert, Tour of Homes and Soup Supper on December 5


December 2, 2021

On Sunday, December 5, the traditional Christmas Concert, Tour of Homes and Soup Supper will, once again, mark the official start of the Christmas season in eastern Pacific and Western Wahkiakum counties.

· Christmas Concert

Starting at 1:30 p.m., the Christmas Concert will take place in the Community Center in Naselle. The Tour of Homes, featuring local homes, is scheduled from 2 to 5 p.m. The Soup Supper will be held at the Community Center and is scheduled to take place from 4 to 6 p.m.

This year, the Christmas Concert features Carl Wirkkala and members of his band, “The Whistle Punks.” A resident of Castle Rock, the ever-popular Wirkkala is best recognized for his writing and performing of songs about local places, people and their past and present means of livelihood. Keeping with the Christmas spirit, audience members can choose to join in on a Christmas carol or two.

There is no charge for the concert, although donations are appreciated. The Community Center is located at 14 Parpala Road, one-half block west of State Route 401.

· Tour of Homes

This year, Home Tour organizer, Darlene Bjornsgard, has come up with an outstanding line-up of four homes and an attached mother-in-law apartment. These homes reflect a range of history and display the craftsmanship of area contractors and the vision of the owners. Tickets and maps for the Home Tour will be available at the Community Center as well as each of the homes included in the tour. Tickets are $5 and the money received will be used to support the Finnish-American Folk Festival, a biennial festival held in Naselle on even numbered years. The entrances to the homes will be marked with balloons and signs.

The Rosburg residence of Gary and Susan Burkhalter is a ranch rambler overlooking a pastoral setting of the Grays River as it winds its way through valley pastureland. The kitchen/living area was recently remodeled by Jim Larson Construction. The updated look is modern with a Scandinavian vibe. Visitors will enjoy the recently added old growth cedar beam and posts, the large quartz top kitchen island and the hardwood upstairs floors.

Making it a family affair, the Home Tour also includes the Rosburg home of Austin and Nicole Burkhalter. Built in 1911, the home originally had a porch overlooking the nearby Grays River providing a view of the river traffic prevalent at that time. Since purchasing the home in 2014, the Burkhalters have made many renovations, including turning the carport into living space. The Burkhalter home is a wonderful mix of new and original features.

The Naselle home of Bruce and Terri Johnson was constructed following their purchase of the property in 2017. They built what they call their “downsized” home with health being one of the major considerations. The house has no stairs, instead, everything is ramped, and the home is equipped with ADA doorways and utilities. A feature of the home sure to find favor among those on the tour is the four-season covered back deck.

Originally built in 1944, the Naselle home of Alan and Diane Bennett is a marvelous combination of new and old. In 2003, the Bennetts remodeled the home adding 1,260 square feet to the structure. The 1933 root cellar was completely rebuilt by Jacobson Construction including a replication of the original venting system. More recently a separate sauna was constructed which uses the original sauna stove from 1949 inscribed, “John Erik Erikson 1949, year of the big snow.”

When Alan Bennett’s mother’s health declined, the Bennetts had Treat and Treat help with the design of an additional living space connected seamlessly to the main house with a separate private entrance and hallway. Wilson Brothers constructed the addition which includes a garage with a loft bedroom/bathroom for company. This addition, currently occupied by Jan Wolfe is a “must see” on the tour.

· Soup Supper

The Soup Supper features an array of delicious soups. Like the concert, it is free to the public, although donations are encouraged and much appreciated. It is a superb way to end the day following the concert and home tour. While enjoying the soups, diners will also be able to purchase locally made Christmas wreaths for sale at the center.

ESA will have a collection box at the Community Center for donations of canned goods. The items collected will be distributed to local food banks.


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