A Yuletide Tradition Unites International Lions What would winter be without chestnuts roasting on an open fire? The Leavenworth Lions in Washington wouldn’t dare to find out. But they have found that half their chestnut customers don’t know what they’ve been missing. They’ve never tried chestnuts before. The other half know how good a freshly roasted chestnut is with some hot cocoa or hot spiced cider on a snowy winter night. For the Lions in MD 19, District D, selling chestnuts over the holidays is now an international event. Every year Lions from the Kamloops Paddlewheelers Lions in British Colum-bia make the trip to Leavenworth to assist with the Leaven-worth Lions’ annual roasted chestnuts fundraiser. And next year, Leavenworth Lions hope, even more Lions from British Columbia will make the trip. It’s a tradition. The Leavenworth Lions purchase 1,500 pounds of chestnuts from an orchard in Washington and sell them at festivals from a trailer built by Past District Governor Joe Nilles. The first part is the tedious part. All of the chestnuts have to be scored; an X carved in the shell to let steam escape. Twenty-three Lions and friends scored 300 pounds for the local Christkindlmarkt fashioned after a Bavarian Christmas market in Germany. The rest were scored over three get-to-gethers in the weeks leading up to the Christmas Lighting Festival, says Lion Joyce Stevens. “It’s time consuming and it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.” The roasted chestnuts, started in a convection oven and fin-ished over a barbecue grill, sell in a 10-ounce cup for $3.25 and are very popular, but Lions also sell two-pound bags of non-scored and non-roasted chestnuts for those who want to carry out their own yuletide tradition at home. Sales this winter took in $16,500 with the profit providing vision and hearing help for community members and sup-porting numerous other Lion projects. Change jars collected $1,300 to send children to diabetes camp. And this year the club plans to replace the picnic shelter in Lions Club Park as their centennial project. The Leavenworth Lions in Washington love to introduce new customers to the wonder of roasted chestnuts from their stand at winter festivals. Makeover Preserves Art of Blacksmithing The Signal Mountain Lions Club— believed to be the largest in Tennessee with 98 Lions—historically focused on large community barbecues and a vari-ety of short-term projects. But they chose to add something differ-ent for a year. They focused on a Lions Legacy project that shares the history of community in the scenic Walden Ridge, outside Chattanooga. The Lions dedicated time, money, and labor to restore the blacksmith shop on the historic McCoy Farm and Gardens to its former grandeur. It is owned by the town of Walden. The shop was beyond repair and Lions decided to raze it and rebuild it on the original site, retaining its original ap-pearance and integrity so it would serve as a working shop for the farm and for reenactments, says Lion Paul Jensen. More than 20 Signal Mountain Lions worked steadily, demolishing the old structure but saving what they could, including the original forge and chim-ney, old tools, and horseshoes. Before and after photos show the work of the Signal Mountain Lions in saving a historic blacksmith shop. The McCoy Farm Board of Directors, with help from the Lions, funded the project, but community members stepped up in a variety of ways. One citizen renovated and donated an an-tique ceiling fan from the early 1900s. Pine trees harvested from Lion Earl Hereford’s yard were processed at a saw mill and donated. The boards were dried on the property, and some were used to complete the interior walls. Members of Choo Choo Forge, a local blacksmith club, provided the Lions with guidance, materials and support, and Lions totaled 37 work days and more than 800 man hours. Charles Adams, a board member for the farm, says the blacksmith shop provided horseshoes, farm implements, shaping of metals during fabrication, wrought iron shapes, and livestock gate hardware in the early 1900s. “Signal Mountain Lions chose this proj-ect to permit future demonstration of this lost art for future generations,” says Adams. “The first community demon-stration was standing room only.” A piece of Walden Ridge history has been restored, and a plaque on the wall documents years of Lions’ service in the Tennessee community.