Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Storrowton's Christmas Carol

Many of you are probably only familiar with Eastern States Exposition (ESE) during The Big E. Well contrary to what you might think, the grounds are not completely desolate during the Fair’s off season. Apart from The Big E, there are over 100 other shows held at ESE throughout the year.

If you have been keeping tabs on this blog, you might recall that Yuletide week and Walking in a Winter Wonderland are going on now. Another recent event you may not have heard of is Dickens at Storrowton.

Storrowton Village Museum set the stage for this incredible event which featured Gerald Charles Dickens’ magical performance of “A Christmas Carol.” Gerald, the great, great grandson of author Charles Dickens, performed his rendition of the holiday favorite to a large audience in Storrowton’s Meetinghouse last Monday night.

Gerald captivated the audience as he made the entire Meetinghouse his stage. He brought life to each character, using different voices and interacting with audience members. Gerald’s Ebenezer Scrooge sulked on the pulpit steps as Jacob Marley walked the aisles of the church dragging his chains behind him. His emotional portrayal of Bob Cratchit and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come moved audience members to tears. Needless to say, it was an outstanding performance.  

The special event was preceded by a social hour in Storrowton Tavern and invited guests had the opportunity to meet the talented Gerald Dickens following his performance. 

As we were impressed by him, Gerald was impressed with Storrowton Village. Following the show, he wrote on his blog, “What a wonderful, spectacular setting. You are all doing something very special there and it was a complete pleasure to be a small part of it.”

Gerald, a resident of Oxfordshire, England, began his theatrical performance of “A Christmas Carol” in 1993. His one-man dramatization of the holiday classic was inspired by his great, great grandfather’s own readings of the timeless story. This remarkable performance has been recorded, performed at schools, colleges and universities throughout the county and across the seas. We are lucky to have had him!

Friday, December 6, 2013

19th Century Fashion Holidays at ESE

Yuletide coordinator Thelma Greene
Storrowton Village Museum has been swarming with garden clubs and designers in preparation for this weekend’s Yuletide at Storrowton.

If you didn’t see our last post, Yuletide is Eastern States Exposition’s holiday celebration set in the re-constructed 19th century Storrowton Village. The event is completed through the generosity of local decorators and Storrowton volunteers. Everyone donates their time and resources to the project in the spirit of Christmas and community togetherness.

 Every year, ESE invites the community to its grounds for this free family fun event. This year’s Yuletide is taking place tomorrow and Sunday, Dec. 7 & 8! There are also Open House Tours and a Lantern Light Tour of the adorned Village during the week.

Yuletide has truly become a popular holiday tradition, now ready to open for its 24th year. Needless to say, excitement is buzzing all over the grounds for this weekend.

Naturally, we document all aspects of the event, so amid the boxes of evergreen brush, branches of winter berries and Christmas trees, stood me with a camera, ready to capture some great set-up action.

At the beginning of this week, volunteers began hauling in assortments of different materials to their designated areas. The decorators are all assigned buildings and specific rooms to decorate in the Village. Some rooms took a couple days, others took an entire afternoon.

As you can imagine, Yuletide is brimming with innovate ideas for holiday d├ęcor thanks to the work of these clubs and designers. They use all natural materials ranging from greens and berries to fruit and fried herbs.

Check out this great arrangement by Merry Mite Gardens!

Merry Mite Gardens of Suffield Conn., decorated the Gilbert Farmstead kitchen. This arrangement used three terracotta clay pots which filled with dirt and stacked on top of each other in order of largest to smallest. The decorator utilized the space between the pots with cedar and balsam branches. Dried grasses were added to give the arrangement some height and dried hydrangeas provided a nice contrast from the greenery. She completed the decoration with a few branches of winter berries for a little holiday accent color. 

There's a lot more where this came from! Come to Yuletide at Storrowton this weekend to see them all. Everyone is welcome to take pictures or notes on the breathtaking displays. If you can't make it this weekend Open House Tours are Dec. 10 - 14, and the Lantern Light Tour is Dec. 11. Get the daily schedule for this weekend as well as hours for next week's tours on our website!

Check out the displays from years past on our Pinterest page!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Yuletide at Storrowton

The holiday season is the best part of winter. I love the decorations, festivities and music in the air. Lucky for me, Eastern States Exposition appreciates the holidays too and is bringing Christmas cheer to the fairgrounds with a couple of special winter productions.

Perhaps you’ve heard of our upcoming event, Yuletide at Storrowton. Once a year, ESE’s historic Storrowton Village is transformed into a 19th century winter festival for the whole community to enjoy.

Through the volunteer efforts of local garden clubs and designers, the Village is completely adorned in all-natural decorations of the season. The authentic setting of the Village truly makes this a magical event, which has been drawing in crowds for over 20 years. 

During the Yuletide weekend, Dec. 7 & 8, visitors can tour the Village and experience the old-fashioned holiday fun of storytelling, ice sculpting, musical performances and early American craft demonstrations. The event is also a great way to get inspiration for your own holiday decorations. I know I’ll be taking notes!

Before you leave, stop by the Storrowton Village Gift Shop and Christmas Shop in Potter Mansion. You never know what unique holiday treasures you might find! There will also be hot beverages and delicious homemade treats available in the Holiday Sweet Shoppe.

The best part is – these weekend-long festivities are free!
If you can't make it on the weekend, Yuletide Open House Tours will be going on all week!

 Yuletide Events

Yuletide at Storrowton
Sat., Dec. 7 – Sun., Dec. 8
11am – 4pm – FREE

Yuletide Open House Tours
Tues., Dec. 10 – Sat., Dec. 14
11am - 3pm – $5

Yuletide by Lantern Light
Wed., Dec. 11
6 - 8pm – $5

Children under 6 are free and parking is free at all Storrowton events!

While you are on the grounds, I highly recommend topping off your day with Walking in a Winter Wonderland, going on now through Jan. 5. This ornate Christmas display is in the New England Center – only a short walk from Storrowton Village.

Be sure you visit these pages for more information!