Couple aims to ramp up interest in local history
Andrew and Christa Wolf, and their three daughters, moved to Kidron this summer. Andrew and Christa are the new activities directors for Sonnenberg Village and also help at the Heritage Center in Kidron. Christa wrote and directed the play last year about the story of Sonnenberg for the 200th anniversary celebration.
KIDRON The pandemic has thrown a wrench into the Kidron Community Historical Society’s events calendar.
But some youth and fresh ideas are being injected into the organization.
Two new events coordinators have hit the historic ground at Sonnenberg Village running – as best as they can during the worldwide health crisis.
Andrew Wolf has returned to his roots as he and his wife, Christa, moved to Kidron this summer with their three young daughters.
The couple has goals for next year at Sonnenberg Village as well as the Heritage Center, both under the umbrella of the Kidron Community Historical Society, to encourage more people to visit and learn about local history.
Andrew, son of Dick and Sharon Wolf, who are directors of the Heritage Center in Kidron, is a 2003 graduate of Dalton High School. Christa, who has a master’s degree in theatre arts, is not from the area originally, but she may be more familiar with the history of the area than some residents. She researched the history of Sonnenberg-Kidron last year to write and direct the play for the 200th anniversary celebration. The play was widely popular.
“Andrew carries a torch for this area and a passion for the heritage of his family around here, and the history of the community,” she said.
Thanks to the Wolfs moving into the role where they will oversee public events as well as private bookings, Sonnenberg Village Project Manager Ray Leisy will be able to concentrate on his strengths, including renovating the historic buildings in the growing village along Hackett Road just outside of Kidron. The Somer-Bixler House has been completed and is now available for rent as a shop. Plans are for a barn-raising in 2021 thanks to the donation of a more than 170-year-old barn. Christa Wolf said she is looking forward to improved lighting in the Welcome Center — the 1907 Sonnenberg Church. She would like to work on a couple community theatre productions next year.
“I think one of the things we need to really focus on is letting people locally know that we are here for them and what we’re about and how they can participate. People around here are close-knit and I think the thing that draws the crowds is being able to watch your friends and family and participate in things that get advertised word of mouth.”
They plan to continue Sonnenberg Village’s well-known events such as an annual Homecoming, Beet Festival, and hymn sings, which are open to the public. Buildings in the village also can be booked for weddings, reunions, meetings and other gatherings.
So far, the Wolfs hosted a successful event for homeschooled children. More than 90 students and family members showed up to visit the buildings, participate in activities at stations, and learn local history.
Andrew and Christa also are helping out Dick and Sharon Wolf at the Heritage Center. She said she is working on a new display she hopes to debut in March featuring local artisans and their work.
“We hope to change the displays more regularly,” she said.
Along with programs for homeschool groups, Wolf said she hopes to offer scavenger hunts for kids and have family-friendly activities available so when parents visit to research, kids can have activities to keep them occupied. Wolf also has worked on updating information people can pick up for a self-guided driving tour of the Kidron area complete with businesses and history.
“Everybody’s excited about some younger participation,” Wolf said. “Some of our goals are to inspire younger people in the community to take ownership of their heritage too and participate in some of these events and improvements.”
Wolf said Kidron has always felt like a second home before they moved there. The family visited regularly and took part in local events. Their three girls, ages 4, 6 and 8, enjoy visiting the Kidron Flea Market, and learning the parks.
Christa calls Dick and Sharon Wolf “pillars of the community.”
“We have a lot of road paved for us already,” she said.
She has been working on networking and getting established and hopes to roll out plans for the year in the spring.