Brownhelm Ohio Community Events


The Brownhelm Historical Association holds meetings the first Wednesday of each month beginning in February, March, April, May and June; off July and August; resume September, October, November, and December. Meetings are held either at the Carriage Barn in Mill Hollow or at the Historic Brownhelm School and Museum on North Ridge Road. Note: the December Christmas Meeting is held at the Brownhelm Heritage Museum (formerly the German Evangelical and Reformed Church) at  1355 Claus Road, Vermilion. Doors open at 6:15 pm for those who wish to attend the business meeting from 6:30-7 pm. Those wishing to only attend the program should arrive between 7-7:15 pm for refreshments and socializing. Programs start at 7:30 pm.


The Mill Hollow Herb Fair takes place each April at the Carriage Barn in Vermilion River Reservation. This is a free event.

Leap into spring and join the Mill Hollow Herb Fair held annually each April. This event has become a spring tradition for garden enthusiasts, as well as those interested in shopping for unique and local products. Local plant nurseries offer a wide selection of top quality plants and gardening essentials. Other local vendors have herb-related items for purchase, such as teas and soaps. Tasty treats include herbal twists, such as herb-flavored breads and cookies. In addition, food vendors are available for those interested in lunch or a snack, and FRIENDS of the Metro Parks offers coffee for purchase. The Benjamin Bacon House is open for tours both Saturday and Sunday.

Enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of spring at the annual Herb Fair! Questions? Contact the Carriage Barn at (440) 967-7310.


Date:  Sunday, May 20, 2018

Time: 3:00-5:00 pm 

Tour the Historic Brownhelm School & Museum (1889-1988) and see the restoration that has been done by the Brownhelm Historical Association. If you are alumni of the school, or are simply interested in seeing what has been accomplished in the beautiful building, please stop by for a visit!


Date:  Sunday, May 27, 2018 of Memorial Day Weekend

Time: Parade participants begin to gather at 1:30 pm. Parade leaves at 1:45 pm to Cemetery

Location: Gather at the corners of North Ridge and Claus Road (South) travel to the  Brownhelm Cemetery.

The Amherst American Legion leads the parade, followed by the Brownhelm Historical Association wagon, Brownhelm 4-H Club, antique cars, tractors & more; all are welcome! At the Veterans Memorial site a short ceremony honoring our Veterans follows.  There are also services at the Rugby Cemetery on North Ridge Road & Brown’s Lake Road Cemetery after the ceremony at Brownhelm Cemetery. All are welcome to join in the parade or at the Brownhelm Cemetery. 


Dates: Sunday evenings June 17th through August 19th

Time: 6:30-8 pm

Location: Vermilion River Reservation – Bacon Woods Amphitheater

Join us Sunday evenings each summer for outdoor musical performances at the Bacon Woods amphitheater! All bands are family friendly. Feel free to bring along your lawn chairs and a picnic dinner or snacks to enjoy. Contact the Carriage Barn at (440) 967-7310 for more information.

  • June 17: Cats on Holiday Swamp Pop, Zydeco
  • June 24: Less Than 88 60s, 70s, 80s
  • July 1: Tim Blake and Michele American Fiddle
  • July 8: Logan Wells and Eric Fischer Variety
  • July 15: Brian Papesh Band Polka
  • July 22: Thor Platter Band Bluegrass
  • July 29: gL Band 60s, 70s, 80s
  • August 5: Shetler Jones Soulful Pop, Folk
  • August 12: Lil’ Eddy and the Boilermakers Swing and Motown
  • August 19: Jim gill Acoustic Folk


Date: Wednesday June 6, 2018

Time: 6:30-9:00 pm

Event: Join the Brownhelm Historical Association for the last meeting before summer with a potluck dinner and an exciting and fun auction. White Elephant items and some wonderful donated items make up the auction. Bring a side dish to share.

Location: Historic Brownhelm School & Museum - 1940 North Ridge Rd, Vermilion


The region's largest, annual car show takes place in August at Vermilion Reservation - Millow Hollow from 11 am to 4 pm. Thousands of muscle cars, hotrods, vintage and custom trucks, ‘vettes, vans, motorcycles and more are on display. With ongoing entertainment, kids’ games and door prizes, there's always something for everyone. Food and beverages are available for a nominal fee. This is a walking event. End the day with some classics 50’s music in the Amphitheater.

Do you have a car 25 years or older? Show it off at the Mill Hollow Cruisin’ Car Show! The first 300 participants receive a free dash plaque.

Spanning two adjacent areas separated by the Vermilion River—Mill Hollow on one side and Bacon Woods on the other—Vermilion River Reservation is a favorite of picnickers, naturalists and anyone who just wants to enjoy its natural beauty. Just next to the Bacon House Museum, the Carriage Barn offers visitors information about the park and hosts nature programs.

Vermilion River Reservation is located at 51211 North Ridge Rd.,  just 4 miles south of downtown Vermilion, by the intersection of North Ridge and Vermilion roads.

For dates and details, visit


Date:  September 5, 2018

Time: Doors open at 6:15 pm; Meeting 6:30-7:00 pm; Program to follow at 7:30 pm

Location: Historic Brownhelm School & Museum - 1940 North Ridge Rd, Vermilion

Speaker: Katie Rivet, Chairperson for the Cemetery Restoration Project

Katie will present a power point presentation on the June Workshop held at the Brownhelm Cemetery that was led by Mark Morton of Gravestone Guardians of Ohio. Participants came from near and far to take part in this important workshop to learn how to properly and safely restore headstones. 


Date: Saturday, September 22 & Sunday, September 23, 2018

Time: 10:00 am-4:00 pm

Cost: Free!

Event: The Brownhelm Historical Association, in partnership with the Lorain Metro Parks, presents Civil War Days.  Experts in Civil War era topics will be present to share their knowledge during scheduled demonstrations on period cooking methods, medical practices, uniforms, music and more throughout the day.  Take a tour of the Benjamin Bacon home, then spread out a picnic and enjoy the day! Educational fun for the whole family! Free admission. 

Location: Vermilion River Reservation - Mill Hollow Park


Date:  Wednesday, October 3, 2018  

Time: Doors open at 6:15 pm; Meeting 6:30-7:00 pm; Program to follow at 7:30 pm

Location:  Historic Brownhelm School & Museum - 1940 North Ridge Rd, Vermilion

Speaker: To Be Announced


Date: Sunday, October 7, 2018

Time: 3:30-6:00 pm  

Cost: Free!

Event: Come stroll through the Brownhelm Cemetery where you will walk back in time and meet some of Brownhelm’s earliest pioneers and residents. Costumed reenactors share their life stories in a program that “brings history life”!

Location: Brownhelm Cemetery, corner of North Ridge and Sunnyside Road 


Date:  November 7, 2018

Time: Doors open at 6:00 pm; Meeting 6:30-7:00 pm; Program to follow

Location:  Historic Brownhelm School & Museum  

Speaker: Eric Rivet, Curator of Collections Western Reserve Historical Society  

With Veteran’s Day approaching, Brownhelm Historical Association member Eric Rivet’s “Cleveland at War” ties in well. World War I and II had a profound effect on Cleveland. Join Eric for a discussion of how Cleveland’s industrial power made key contributions to both wars. Hear the stories of prominent Clevelanders and local heroes who helped achieve victory, and see some of the treasures of the Western Reserve Historical Society’s military collections. 


Date:  November 25, 2018

Time: 6:00 pm

Location:  Historic Brownhelm School & Museum  

Join us for an Old Fashioned Christmas Tree Lighting and singing a few carols to start the holiday season. Refreshments and socializing in the "School."


Date:  Saturday, December 1 & Sunday, December 2

Time: Saturday 3:00 pm-8:00 pm; Sunday, December 2:00-6:00 pm

Location: Mill Hollow Park/Vermilion River Reservation

FREE event

Each December re-enactors recreate an Old Fashioned Holiday at the Benjamin Bacon House located in Mill Hollow Park, also known then as Brownhelm Mills or Bacon’s Mills.  Guests travel in time to the 1860’s as re-enactors portray early Brownhelm residents preparing for the holiday party.  Enjoy the sights, sounds and scents of Christmas in the candlelit home.  Tours leave about every 15 minutes from the Carriage Barn. Outdoor campfire, hearth cooking demonstrations, music, and more.  Performed by many members of the Brownhelm Historical Association and sponsored by the Lorain County Metro Park. 


Date:  December 5th, 2018

Time: Doors open at 6:00 pm ; Meeting 6:30-7:00 pm; Program to follow

Location:  Brownhelm Heritage Museum, 1355 Claus Road, Vermilion

Program: Victorian Holiday Traditions

Did you know that Prince Albert, the German husband of Queen Victoria, introduced the tradition of a Christmas tree? Or that the sending of Christmas cards developed during the Victorian era? Learn many interesting facts and traditions and the story of why Charles Dickens’ wrote “A Christmas Carol”.  Please bring a plate of cookies to share. 


Date:  December 24th, Annually

In 1931 a young child, 8 years old, was told there wouldn’t be any Christmas presents for her. The Great Depression had taken its tole on Northern Ohio and her father was out of work. The little girl confided the heartbreaking news to her pastor of the Brownhelm Congregational Church.

When Reverend Ralph Albright learned that children in his parish would not have a Christmas, he assembled members of three churches in Brownhelm Township. Together they created a plan for Santa to visit families in need, bringing food and gifts.

No family was untouched by the hard times of the Great Depression, so they did what they could. Old and broken toys were donated from the attics of local families. They were repaired, painted and polished by volunteers. The church basement was transformed into a toy shop. Local women repaired old dolls and crafted new ones. Old clothes were mended. Farmers donated apples, ciders, squash and potatoes. Monetary donations were collected in a cigar box at the Brownhelm Store, a total of $16.90, allowing for the purchase of oranges and candy. Santa suits were made from red and white flannel.

Volunteers wrapped, packed and labeled the gifts. At dusk on the morning of December 24th, six Santas affixed their beards with spirit gum and began delivering the packages around the township.

“There was not one lonely, disappointed or hungry child in our community this Christmas.” - Reverend Albright

The following year the volunteer committee reassembled and decided to continue the project. The volunteers agreed that every home would be included so that no family would be singled out as “poor”. The Community Christmas with Santa Claus had been established, and continues each year to this day.

There were only 12 homes in the township when the tradition began, now there are 900. 20 Santas visit all homes in Old Brownhelm, the area originally served by the Brownhelm School before it was consolidated with Firelands Schools. Every child under 10 receives a gift; those up to age 14 receive candy and fruit. Seniors citizens are gifted with a half-peck basket of fruit. Cards are sent out to everyone serving in the military. Anyone who might go without Christmas dinner discreetly receives food packages.

Letters are sent to Brownhelm Township families in November explaining the Community Christmas tradition with instructions on how to receive a Santa visit. The area is divided into routes; each route with a chairman to compile a list of each recipient’s name and age.

The Brownhelm Community Christmas Santa visits have become an integral part of the season for Brownhelm residents. Organizers rely solely on donations; they do not solicit businesses but local businesses donate fruit and solicit donations. Volunteers drive Santa from house to house, wrap gifts, assemble fruit baskets, pack candy into bags, and help the Santas get dressed on Christmas Eve.

The legacy of a little girl, whose heartbreaking plea touched an entire community, has far outlived her.

Brownhelm Historical Association
Preserving the Rich History of Brownhelm, Ohio

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