Will's Country Christmas starts Dec. 3 in Claremore

CLAREMORE -- Will Rogers never outgrew his passion for Christmas, and always had special remembrances for his sisters, nieces and nephew as well as his own little family.

Only once after his marriage was he away from home on Christmas.

He sent gifts home in 1931, then spent a lonely holiday in Shanghai.

Often on Christmas Day, Will and his family would retreat to the little cabin on their California ranch property where they could spend the day in seclusion.

Will's County Christmas on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 3-4, will be a celebration to share with hundreds, even thousands, who will visit the Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch from 5-9 p.m. each evening, full of family-friendly activities under the lights.

Admission is free.

Attendees can enjoy a hayride and Wild West Shootout along the banks of Oologah Lake for $5 15 and older - free for kids younger.

There will be opportunities for pictures with Santa in the room where Will Rogers was born.

There will also be storytelling on the porch of the ranch house, carriage rides, a Shooting Gallery, music, and 19th Century games under night lights and near bonfires.

Kids' crafts will fill the barn classroom.

More than 30 vendors and food trucks have made plans to participate in the event.

Significant of Will's love of Christmas, the first electric Christmas lights in Chelsea were the year Will's sister, Maude Lane, was ill.

He sent the lights from New York and her family decorated a tree at the end of the lane at their home on Chelsea's east side - and relocated her bed so she could see it from the "tower room."

The public is invited.

For more information, call (918) 341-0719.

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