Gaineswood readies for Christmas

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 8, 2004

DEMOPOLIS- Storytelling, holiday music, candlelit holiday decorations, open house tours by the Gaineswood Belles and free ornaments for children continue the memorable tradition of Candlelight Evening at Gaineswood for the 29th year. Weather permitting, carriage rides on the grounds, observatory access and guided candlelight basement tours will also be offered as part of the evening’s festivities.

Held in conjunction with Christmas in the Canebrake at Bluff Hall and Lyon Hall, Gaineswood’s Candlelight Evening is Thursday, Dec. 2, from 5:30-8 p.m. during Demopolis’ Christmas on the River Week. Admission to each of the three historic houses is $3 per person, with ages 11 and under admitted free. “We are looking forward to another fun holiday evening,” said Matt Hartzell, Gaineswood site director.

The Gaineswood Belles, attired in elegant period-style costumes, interact with visitors and share information about the mansion’s main floor. Weather permitting, guided tours of the candlelit basement are to be given every 15 minutes, and audiences will also have the opportunity to visit the rooftop observatory. Carriage rides on the grounds are offered at $5 per ride, Hartzell said.

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Special entertainment during the Candlelight Evening includes a performance from 6-6:45 p.m. by the Crimson Brass, a student quintet with the University of Alabama school of music. “We are excited about having the Crimson Brass perform a mixture of traditional and contemporary holiday music, with a few lesser-known selections dating to the 18th and 19th centuries,” Hartzell said. The quintet is comprised of Jennifer Heatherington, trumpet; Ja’morris Rivers, trumpet; Joseph Gamble, French horn; Paul Gamble, trombone; and Derek Fenstermacher, tuba.

Retired University of West Alabama professor Mike Reekie of Livingston tells the story “Twas The Night Before Christmas” at 7 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. Known around Demopolis as a talented participant in the Canebrake Players’ theatrical productions, Reekie lends his talents to retelling the popular holiday story attired in period costume. “This is a real treat for all ages,” Hartzell said.

A National Historic Landmark renowned for its unique architecture and original furnishings, Gaineswood is a historic site of the Alabama Historical Commission. Considered one of America’s finest examples of the Greek Revival style, Gaineswood was built between 1843 and 1861 by Nathan Bryan Whitfield.

Gaineswood is located at 805 South Cedar Avenue in Demopolis. For more information, call (334) 289-4846.