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History and ho-ho-ho

Posted: December 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 16, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Nica Spargifiore as Mrs. Claus, right, guides Estrella Alejo, 6, over to meet Jonatahn Spargifiore as Santa at Heritage Junction in Newhall on Saturday.

The Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society opened its doors Saturday as a way to wish citizens a happy and historical holiday.

The society has held a holiday open house event for the past 20 years, according to society board member Barbara Martinelli.

Martinelli said this year’s event, held at Heritage Junction Historic Park in Newhall, allows the society to reach a new segment of the population and educate them about what the society has to offer.

“Our mission is to let people know about our local history,” Martinelli said. “And you can’t do that without bringing people in.”

People may have been brought in by the food, karaoke and dance performances during the five-hour event, but those festive activities provided a perfect segue into educating attendees, according to Roberto Torres Azpeitia, the director of Latino cultural affairs for the Historical Society.

“It’s all about learning the local history of our valley,” Azpeitia said. “And every step you take into any of these buildings is a step into that history.”

The buildings at Heritage Junction were open for public viewing and tours during the event.

Linda Hinz, a member of a local chapter of the Questers, said she had taken about 75 people on tours during the event.

The Questers is a nonprofit organization that encourages restoration of and appreciation for historic sites.

Local Questers were instrumental in refurbishing and furnishing some of the structures at Heritage Junction, Martinelli said.

Hinz said events such as the open house allow people to both learn and interact with the history of the Santa Clarita Valley.

“Something like walking through a building, it’s tangibly experiencing history,” Hinz said. “And I am proud and happy to share that with people.”




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