Victorian Country Christmas draws many visitors

Event held in East Canton

EAST CANTON - A weather forecaster will tell you that low pressure systems and storm fronts bring snow.

But Marie Kennedy had a more magical explanation Saturday.

She knew the reason why snow had blanketed the lawn at the Manley-Bohlayer House in East Canton for the 15th Annual Victorian Country Christmas.

"We always say Mrs. Claus brings the snow, so Santa can come on Christmas Eve," she said with a smile.

At the event, Mrs. Claus, rather than Santa, sits in a chair in front of the fireplace, as children tell her about their Christmas wish lists.

This year, the Wright children - Lily, 5; Leah, 2; and Kyle, 3 - were among the kids who visited Mrs. Claus. Lily said she wanted "something for ballet," a purse, and perfume.

April Wright said it was their second year coming to the Victorian Country Christmas.

"It's a nice place to take our Christmas pictures," she said.

Kennedy was delighted that there was just enough snow to make things merry at the annual Christmas celebration.

"It makes it more festive," she commented.

Many people turned out for the event, creating a well-worn path of footprints in the snow, leading up to the porch. Everywhere, Christmas decorations abounded.

On the fence of the farm, flags with images of Santa, a snowman, a Christmas stocking, and a Christmas tree fluttered in the wind. Inside, lights on Christmas trees glowed among the branches.

According to Kennedy, the theme this year was an "Old-Fashioned Christmas."

On the mantle, an antique oil lamp, believed to be from the late 1800s, was among the items that has been placed in the Manley-Bohlayer House to create an old-time holiday atmosphere. Kennedy also said an old clock that belonged to her grandmother was placed on the mantle. She thought it was between 125-150 years old. There were also some donated holiday decorations and a spinning wheel that was on loan.

This year, 10 vendors were set up in the house, selling everything from jewelry to furniture to candles.

"It's a good selection of handmade items," Kennedy said. "Last year, there were several that were sold out at the end of the day."

"One thing that goes fast is the fudge, the peanut brittle," she noted.

Free refreshments included an old favorite, wassail, a spiced cider drink.

An "Over the River" quilt, with the lyrics of the song on back, graced one of the walls inside the house. It was made by Linda Allen of Canton.

"I think it's amazing," said Marjorie Morse. She was impressed by all the little stitches on the quilt.

At the Rekindle the Spirit table, Lucy Chamberlain, joined by her daughters, Grace and Lillian, were selling homemade sweetbreads from Rekindle.

She said they sold "quite a few."

Deb Fitzwater, who oversees The Greenhouse Group, a group of students with special needs at Canton Elementary School, had the students' note cards for sale once again this year.

The cards featured scanned images of flowers. On one, the flowers were arranged to form a smiley face.

Fitzwater said the group has been making the cards for ten years, and this year's note cards were a "best of edition." The kids sign the backs of the cards, Fitzwater said.

"They know exactly which one they did."

The annual event is sponsored by Rekindle The Spirit. Visitors from the local area and other places attend each year. This year, people from locations such as West Grove, Pa., Red Lion, Pa., and Slate Run, Pa. were among the many attending.

Visitors were invited to sign their names in the guestbook when they walked in.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: