23rd Annual Victorian Christmas Brings Historic Tours, Train Exhibit, Art | News, Sports, Work

Preservation Williamsport will host its 23rd annual Victorian Christmas from November 18th to November 20th. The theme of this year’s three-day event is The Art of the Age: Music and Theatre.

“It’s just my true passion,” said Nan Young, one of the founders of the Victorian Christmas. “I actually started Victorian Christmas 23 years ago and I just started in the bar at the Herdic House with Gloria and Marcia Miele and also Ted Lyons. Unfortunately, we have lost two of these people, but Gloria Miele Wood and I are still working with Victorian Christmas.

Festivities begin at 6:00 p.m., Friday, November 18, with Bill Town’s parade, followed by the lighting of the Christmas tree by the mayor at 6:30 p.m. Historical talk and concert featuring John Paul “JP” Tobin will then enter, taking on the persona of Ole Bull.

Tobin was a much sought-after concertmaster and principal violinist in the region, according to the Victorian Christmas brochure. Tobin’s performance will be followed by a short, special presentation on the history of traditional Christmas carols by Repasz Brass and Repasz Winds. The concert is free and will begin at 6:30 pm in the newly opened Trachte Music Center at Lycoming College. The previously printed time in the brochure was incorrect.

Saturday’s events include a tour of 12 historic homes and buildings built by Williamsport’s Lumber Barons, many along Millionaires’ Row. The tour will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Musical presentations throughout the day include performances by the Repasz Band, Hawthorne Opera Theater and the Williamsport Symphony in combination with the Billtown Brass.

Young said this “we have a variety and a sampling of architecture,” including one of the homes that was “bought by someone who bought it off the internet and moved here from out of state and is changing house.” Another interesting addition this year is Swan House, a contemporary home on display on Campbell Street during the tour.

Fun events on Sunday’s agenda include a tour of local churches, with proceeds benefiting Penn College’s campus ministry program. Several church concerts will be held throughout the area, including performances at the American Rescue Workers, First United Methodist Church and Christ Church.

This will be the second year that the church tours have been part of the event, but it will be the first year that they will be on a separate day, according to Nan Young.

“There is an additional crowd that wants to see the Tiffany stained glass windows and be able to have tea at Herdic House or lunch at various places listed in the brochure” and in the past also visitors “they’ll get upset because they can’t get to everything in one day,” she said.

The DuBoistown Garden Club will be on hand, and a toy train show and craft market will be held Saturday and Sunday at the YWCA, located at 815 W. Fourth St. The market will be held from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and from 11am to 4pm on Sunday. The 31st Annual Will Huffman Toy Train Show will be held at two different locations this year on Saturday and Sunday: 800 Park Place and the Thomas T. Taber Museum on West Fourth Street. The expo will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. In addition, several local eateries participate as “food around town” sponsors.

With the specter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the background, Nan is hoping for a big turnout.

“It was only a year that we were closed,” she said. “Some of our events are outside, but then in the homes they will have the choice, it won’t be mandatory, but they will have the choice to wear masks if they wish.”

And more and more people continue to flock to this long-standing festival, “I think we had over a thousand last year and we think we might have more than that,” Young said. “We encourage people to come in and spend the night here. That’s what we’re trying to do because we really have people coming from more metropolitan areas because our reputation has grown over the years.”

The organizers are always looking for volunteers to help, especially with the tours. Nan said “We need people who want to be guides because in a house that has a first and second floor, we have three different shifts and we might need twenty guides because of the size of the house. So we would welcome people who would like to be guides; because there are people interested in the story and helping in this event who would like to contact us.”

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Nan Young directly at 570-419-4915.

Adult tickets for the house tour are $25 and tickets for the church tour are $15. Children 5 and under get in free, and ticket prices for those ages 6 to 18 and students with ID are $10. Adults can also purchase a special combined ticket price for both tours at $35, while the student price is $15. All proceeds will go to support the work of Lady Dee, a local florist and designer who provides the hanging baskets of flowers that adorn the Historic District during the summer months and winter holiday season.

Tickets are available at the Community Arts Center, Hotel Genetti and the Lycoming County Visitors Bureau or by visiting www.eventbrite.com.

For a full list of weekend events visit victorianchristmaspa.com.

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