Christmas Spirit Thrives At Nora Store
by Tom Hanson, Anchor
December 05, 2012 7:16 PM
There are plenty of places to catch the Christmas spirit. But one in particular does it the old fashioned way.
Christmas at the Nora store has been going on for 23 years. If it weren’t for one man, the old country store at Nora might be gone. Not only has Mike Pederson saved a piece of history, he's turned it into a "one of a kind" Christmas experience
Located on a small hill southwest of Alcester, you will find Nora. Population: 5, not counting the cats.
There are two homes and an old country store--a store without anything to sell, but plenty to offer. Inside, there are no shelves lined with goods, just lines of chairs filled with people, some who've driven hours just to experience a Christmas sing along at an old country store
Up front, on a restored pipe organ, Pederson leads visitors through dozens of Christmas carols interspersed with story telling and a little humor.
“I was about ready to take medication! Over the river and through the woods to grannies house we go! Oh the other thing I want to announce, is anyone is welcome to come up and play piano or organ so if spirit moves you and you have the gift please share it, ahhh A Night Before Christmas, Oh boy!" sang Pederson to the crowd.
As the singing continues people keep filing in, and soon every corner of the old store is packed with people. Every year, word of mouth brings a few more visitors. The music, the smell of homemade cookies and cider, and the warmth, from both the wood stove and the moods of those beside you literally fill the store with Christmas spirit.
“I can't put into words there's tears, there's smiles, there's reminiscing and the louder I play that old pipe organ, the louder they sing,” said Pederson.
Visitors throw a little cash in a donation bucket, but the building needs more care than donations will cover, a new roof and electrical system to name a few. Fact is, Mike's efforts to save the old building have met with tough times. The store is on national historical register. Pederson tried going non-profit but says raising funds for a building are hard to come by.
"The store is significant historically because there are not many of these old country store structures left, so I've had a real passion you know to keep Nora on the map,” said Pederson.
Now he's spreading the word, hoping to strike a chord with someone who, in the true spirit of Christmas, can help, in other words--a Christmas miracle.
The weekend of Dec. 8 and 9 will be the last gatherings of 2012. Seating is limited, so we suggest you arrive early
Small groups are welcome during the week; just give Pederson a call at 605-670-1455 Last year around 2,000 people came to experience the Nora Christmas