- July 15, 2020
One of the most highly anticipated annual events that kicks off the Holiday Season in elegant fashion will occur again this weekend, November 22nd-24th, when the 21st Annual Victorian Christmas is held. The Victorian Christmas Committee under the auspices of Preservation Williamsport presents the event. According to committee member Vicki Fischer, “Our mission remains the
One of the most highly anticipated annual events that kicks off the Holiday Season in elegant fashion will occur again this weekend, November 22nd-24th, when the 21st Annual Victorian Christmas is held. The Victorian Christmas Committee under the auspices of Preservation Williamsport presents the event.
According to committee member Vicki Fischer, “Our mission remains the same as when the event was first started,” Fischer told Webb Weekly. “We want to increase public awareness and appreciation of the fine architectural heritage in the Historic District and Williamsport proper. In addition, we want to educate the public (including all ages) by instilling knowledge and appreciation of Victorian style and the importance of its preservation for future generations. Finally, we want to encourage the beautification of and continued interest in the historic district.”
Proceeds from the ticket sales go back into beautifying the historic district through the hanging and maintenance of 56 lovely floral baskets that grace the period light posts during the summer months. During the winter holidays, over 100 of these fixtures are dawned with lighted wreaths, trailing garlands, and silk ribbon. Funds also provide for the flowers and their maintenance at the portal entrance to the historic district, as well as preservation projects at the Rowley House Museum.
“Each year we have a theme or educational focus dealing with the Victorian Era,” said Fischer. “This year our topic is: ‘Riding Through Time ~ Transportation in Victorian Williamsport.’ William E. Nichols Jr. will be our highlighted speaker discussing the various modes of transportation during the era.”
You can look forward to photos, interactive moments, and personal stories, as Mr. Nichols will tell the story of our rich historical transportation past. The talk will be held in the sanctuary of Trinity Episcopal Church, 844 W. Fourth St. at 6 p.m.
Immediately following the featured talk by William E. Nichols Jr., there will be a tree lighting ceremony on the Park Place lawn at 7 p.m. Bring your children and grandchildren and enjoy caroling with Lycoming College students. Listen to the festive music while you enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. A special visitor will be there — Father Christmas is joining the festivities. Later, enjoy some evening music at the Backhouse Café Coffee and Tea.
The Artisan Holiday Market will again be available for your shopping pleasure for two days this year. It will be held at the YWCA at 815 W. Fourth St. on Friday from 2 p.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. There will be a wide selection of arts and finely crafted holiday gifts.
Come explore this wonderful display of handmade items from these talented juried artisans. Also located at the YWCA will be the DuBoistown Garden Club’s Annual Show and Sale. Other weekend activities include the annual Will Huffman Toy Train Expo, loved by train enthusiasts from all over, at Park Place, the Thomas T. Taber Museum, and the Peter Herdic Transportation Museum, on both Saturday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Sunday (noon-4 p.m.). For all you creative enthusiasts, Wine and Design will be open all three days (see website for details and additional pricing for this event).
The committee is very excited about music on Saturday this year. The Williamsport Music Club will perform at the Penn College Bush Campus Center from 9 a.m.-noon. The Minor Modes Saxophone Quartet will be playing at that location from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Stop by the Park Place Gazebo from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. for the Hawthorne Opera Theater.
Victorian Carolers can be enjoyed at the YWCA and in the Museum/Trinity Church vicinity from 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
There will be more carolers strolling along West Fourth St. from 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
This is all in addition to the music at the homes on tour. Each year the music offered to guests enjoying the event increases.
This year there is a special treat. Victorian-dressed character actors will be interacting with passersby at points along West Fourth St. in the historic district from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Look for them near the tour homes.
This is a great photo opportunity to remember the festivities. You can take pictures with your family and the Victorian characters using the tour home as a backdrop. Victorian Characters will also be at the YWCA for pictures from noon-1 p.m. and 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
The highlight of the weekend is the Tour of Historic Homes, Churches, and Buildings of Architectural Interest. This takes place on Saturday, November 23, only (9 a.m.-5 p.m.). This is where you can visually appreciate the true quality of architectural splendor in our area. Fischer remarked, “We would not be able to do this without the willingness of the homeowners. They take the time to have their homes prepared and allow multitudes to walk through them.” The homes are beautifully decorated thanks to local florists who have been involved for many years. Do not forget to enjoy the exquisiteness of our local churches on the tour as well as some interesting downtown buildings. The committee is so grateful for the support of local businesses and or individuals who support this endeavor as sponsors.
The houses, notable buildings, and churches featured on the tour for Saturday, November 23 are:
– The Rowley House Museum, 707 West Fourth Street. Sponsors: River Valley Transit, Franco’s Lounge, Backhouse Café Coffee, and Tea.
The Hiram Rhodes House, 522 West Fourth Street. Sponsors: Airmen Mechanical Services, Albert & Judy Styrcula, Kiessling Group.
– The Oxford House, 1400 Walnut Street. Sponsors: Genetti Hotel & Suites, Sticky Elbow.
– The Cox/Douglass House, 1401 Woodmont Avenue. Sponsors: Blaise Alexander Family Dealership, Susquehanna Oral & Facial Surgery.
– Tine Ridge, 81 Marshall Court. Sponsors-Jersey Shore State Bank, Chef Hosch & Ann Catering, Rig Maids, Robert M. Sides Family Music Center
– The Tonkin/Phillips House: Chateau de Cygne (Swan Castle), 1513 Campbell Street. Sponsors: Brickhouse/Stonehouse Pizza, Wascher Chiropractic Center, The Old Corner Hotel.
– The Lamade/Reynolds House, 830 Vallamont Drive. Sponsors: Wine & Design, Buttery Biscuit, Moon & Raven Public House.
– The Thomas T. Taber Museum, 858 West Fourth.
– The YWCA, 815 West Fourth Street.
– James V Brown Library, 19 East Fourth Street.
– The Community Arts Center, 220 West Fourth Street.
– Christ Episcopal Church, 426 Mulberry Street.
– City Alliance Church, 380 West Fourth Street.
– St. Joseph the Worker Church, 702 West Fourth Street.
– Covenant Central Presbyterian Church, 807 West Fourth Street.
– Trinity Episcopal Church, 844 West Fourth Street.
– Saving Grace Shelter (formerly Grace United Methodist Church), 324 Campbell Street.
Once again, there will be complimentary trolley rides to the various sites on the tour. The home base for this year is Penn College Bush Campus Center, 115 College Ave., where there will be plenty of parking. Tickets for the tour are $20 for adults, free for children through age 18, and students with college ID. They can be purchased at the Community Arts Center, The Historic Genetti Hotel, the Transportation Museum, and the County Visitors Bureau. On the day of the tour, they can also be purchased at the homes on tour, the Penn College Bush Campus Center, and the James V. Brown Library. For additional ticket information, call: 570-419-2989 or go to the ticket site: http://www.2019victorianchristmas.eventbrite.com.
There are many places to enjoy a snack or meal throughout the day on Saturday. Some of the churches on the tour have refreshments available for purchase. There are numerous local restaurants listed in the brochure under “Food Around Town.” Take a break in your travels and enjoy some fine local cuisine at establishments such as Historic Genetti Hotel & Suites, Backhouse Café Coffee and Tea, Chef Hosch & Ann Catering, Moon & Raven Public House, Franco’s Lounge, Brickyard/Stonehouse Pizza, The Old Corner Hotel & Peter Herdic House. Organizers appreciate the participation of the various restaurants in this event.
The Committee certainly appreciates all who helped to make this endeavor happen. “We love when people from out of town visit our lovely city and experience the local ambiance. So, we work with local hotels to develop reduced rate packages,” Fischer explained.
There is a list of special thanks in the brochure and on the website: http://www.victorianchristmaspa.com.
iHeartMedia is the media sponsor this year, helping to spread the word through radio. “We want to mention that we are very thankful for all the individual home sponsors and radio ad sponsors. Please look at our Facebook page: Victorian Christmas in Williamsport.”
This event was founded by members Nan Young, Gloria and Marcia Miele, and Ted Lyons Jr. This year’s Victorian Christmas committee includes Nan Young, Jill Confair, Dianne Peeling, Bethann Campbell, Peachie O’Connor, Hallie Luppert, Connie Phillips, Deb Taylor, Vicki Fischer, Meg Smith, Jennifer Flint, Nicole Nardi, Sara Scott, Valerie Lundy, Linda Sterling, Elaine Decker, and Kristin Ivers. Tom O’Connor is the Treasurer.