For the past 18 years the annual Victorian Christmas has been a wonderful and interesting way to help launch the Christmas holiday season. This year’s 19th edition of this holiday classic should be a fine continuance of this always highly anticipated event.
From its founding by early member Nan Young, the purpose of recognizing and acknowledging the beautiful historic district of Williamsport has remained the same.
The various homes, buildings and churches of the actual tour showcase the beauty and architectural significance of the area. The Victorian Christmas Committee under the auspices of Preservation Williamsport presents the event.
“This year we have an educational focus. It is Williamsport’s part in the Underground Railroad. We will have a speaker, Karen Frock, at the Thomas T. Taber Museum on Friday evening at 6 p.m.,” Vicki Fischer, a member of the organizing committee for Victorian Christmas, told Webb Weekly. “In addition, Karen will be speaking at the James V. Brown Library Rotunda on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Here is some information she has provided to the committee. “Long before it became known by that name, the Underground Railroad (UGRR) operated in this region. People of different races, religions, and walks of life worked together to help others escape from slavery. As local residents went about their daily lives, in barns, homes, caves, underbrush, and outbuildings, people on their way to freedom lay hidden: resting, fed by friendly strangers, recovering from wounds.” Attend her talks to learn more.
The event has a wide variety of activities scheduled throughout the weekend intended to kick off your holiday spirit. Organizers of Victorian Christmas are really trying to establish this as a three-day affair, thereby encouraging our out-of-town visitors to stay at one of our local hotel establishments. There are reduced hotel packages available.
The weekend begins with an extensive Artisan Holiday Market on Friday at the local YWCA from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Enjoy the uniquely handcrafted items available for purchase. There will be jewelry, ornaments, home décor, clothing and much more. Then venture over to the Thomas T. Taber Museum to hear a historic theme talk on our educational focus for this year: Williamsport in the Underground Railroad. Immediately following enjoy the festive lighting of the tree at Park Place. There will be carol singing, cookies and hot chocolate.
You may also want to try your talent at painting at Wine and Design (advance registration).
Begin your Saturday early at the Growers Market. The tour of the historic buildings begins at 9 a.m. and goes until 4 p.m. Once again there will be complimentary trolley rides to the various sites. In addition, this year as related to our theme, there will be a separate van that takes visitors to Freedom Road Cemetery where several African American families lived and gave help to those escaping slavery. The tour guide on the van, Spencer Sweeting, has some interesting tidbits for you.
Other Saturday events include: modified Artisan Holiday Market at the Fink/Youngman House, DuBoistown Garden Club at Lycoming College, Will Huffman Toy Train Expo at Park Place, Wine and Design child class, the WSO Billtown Brass Band performing at the Trade and Transit Center and finally Saturday ends with The Billtown Christmas Parade in downtown Williamsport.
Sunday events are the DuBoistown Garden Club, Will Huffman Toy Train Expo and an interesting display of The Park Home Art and Antiques to be held at The Park Home Meadows in Montoursville. Experience artworks dating from the 18th century in to the 20th century. The display includes paintings, sculptures and furniture.
As one you can see there are so many activities for young and old alike. Something enjoyable to many is music. There will be music at the Artisan Market on Friday. There will be the holiday caroling at the tree lighting. On Saturday, we will have various ensemble groups playing at some of the homes. Certain churches will have music available to enjoy. In addition, take advantage of some strolling carolers in downtown Williamsport. The WSO Billtown Brass Band will be playing some entertaining holiday music.
There are also many places to enjoy food. Some of the churches on the tour have refreshments available for purchase. They have numerous local restaurants in our Food Around Town part of the day on Saturday.
Take a break in your travels and enjoy some fine local cuisine at establishments such as Historic Genetti Hotel and Suites, Peter Herdic House, Chef Hosch & Ann Catering, Moon & Raven Public House, Franco’s Lounge, Brickyard/Stonehouse Pizza and Sticky Elbow.
The homes that are showcased on the tour are a direct result of the owners’ willingness to open their doors to many strangers. The homes are decorated thanks to some local florists who have been involved for many years. The design and structure of these homes are explicit and worth the time to explore and enjoy. In addition, each of the homes on the tour are sponsored by local businesses and or individuals.
Organizers are grateful for their support of this event. They certainly appreciate all who helped to make this event happen. There is a list of special thanks on the brochure and on Victorian Christmas’ website: https://victorianchristmaspa.wordpress.com.
In addition, this year organizers had a media sponsor, iHeartMedia that really helped spread the word through radio. There will be free downtown street parking on Saturday. Tickets are $20 for adults; Free for Children and Students with College ID. For additional ticket information call: 570-419-2989 or go to our e ticket site: http://www.2017victorianchristmas.eventbrite.com, also see their Facebook page Victorian Christmas in Williamsport.
The houses, notable buildings and churches featured on the tour for Saturday, November 18 are:
The Rowley House at 707 West Fourth Street (Sponsors –Blaise Alexander Family Dealership, Al and Judy Styrcula)
The Elias Deemer House at 711 West Fourth Street (Sponsors-Chef Hosch & Ann Catering, Eric and Tish O’Connor)
Weightman Block Apartments at 770 West Fourth Street (Sponsors-Jersey Shore State Bank, Sticky Elbow)
Backhouse Café Coffee & Tea at 901 West Fourth Street (Sponsors-Eric Stashak Photography, Ed and Linda Alberts)
Fink/Youngman House at 601 Sixth Street (Sponsors-Airmen Mechanical Services, Franco’s Lounge/Cloud 9)
The Culler House at 855 Vallamont Drive (Sponsors-Allison Crane & Rigging, The Buttery Biscuit)
Huffman/Myers House at 225 Grampian Boulevard (Sponsors-Moon & Raven Public House, Allen and Ashley Kiessling and Family)
The Plankenhorn/Lundy/Rosenthal House at 235 Grampian Boulevard (Sponsors-Bastian Tire & Auto Center, Brickyard/Stonehouse Pizza)
The James V. Brown Library at 19 East Fourth Street, The Otto Bookstore at 107 West Fourth Street
Historic Genetti Hotels and Suites at 200 West Fourth Street, The FCFP Philanthropy Center at 201 West Fourth Street
Freedom Road Cemetery
Christ Episcopal Church at 426 Mulberry Street
Trinity Episcopal Church at 844 West Fourth Street
City Alliance Church at 380 West Fourth Street
St. Joseph the Worker Church at 702 West Fourth Street
Covenant Central Presbyterian Church at 807 West Fourth Street
Ebenezer Baptist Church at 527 Park Avenue
Bethel AME Church at 601 Hepburn Street
Shiloh Baptist Church at 433 Walnut Street