There is no time of the year that delights us more than Christmas. We trim the tree with ornaments that hold memories, hide gift-wrapped packages under the bed and plan a glorious feast with well-worn recipes. These rituals usher in the season of joy. Experience the warmth and charm of an old-time holiday at Henry B. Plant Museum’s 30th annual Victorian Christmas Stroll from December 1st to 23rd, 2011, 10:00 am to 8:00 pm daily.
Beneath towering silver minarets, an extravagantly adorned former Tampa Bay Hotel captures the spirit of the season – Victorian style. There are 14 exhibit rooms; each dazzling with trimmed trees uniquely designed in 19th century themes and antique holiday accessories. While strolling down the Grand Hallway, your spirits will soar as you become immersed in carolers singing, Charles Dickens, much loved toys and wrapped gifts, Christmas stockings and Old Saint Nick.
For those seeking tree-trimming inspirations, this year’s Christmas trees will be graced by whimsical tea cups, beloved ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, etiquette driven language of fans, blinding white 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, aromatic cigars, twinkling bells, and antique toys.
Where’s Henry? is a game that ignites the passion for exploration in children and the young at heart. Strategically placed in each exhibit room, amid the myriad of decorations, is an image of Henry Plant, the founder of the Hotel. Armed with a checklist, the adventure begins to see if they can locate his image in every room. If they are successful, they will receive a prize.
Don’t miss Bells of Christmas on Saturday, December 11th from 2:30 – 4:30 pm in the Grand Salon of Plant Hall (adjacent to the Museum). Enjoy an afternoon of hand bell music performed by Clearwater Christian Bell Choir from Clearwater Christian College, Fanfare Ringers from First United Methodist Church of Lutz and St. Andrew’s Ringers from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Tampa. The concert is free and open to the public.
The Victorian Christmas Stroll preserves the essence of an old-fashioned Christmas and is treasured as Tampa’s most popular family tradition. Complimentary spiced cider and savory cookies will be served on the veranda every day, and each evening carolers will perform music for your merriment. Visitors are invited to sing with the carolers in front of the 15-foot tree in the hallway. Admission is $13 for adults, $11 seniors and $7 youths (4-18 years). Discount Days are December 5, 6,12, and 13 when admissions are reduced to $9 adults, $8 seniors, and $5 youths. Group tours are welcome: please make reservations for parties of 20 or more with Sally Shifke, Museum Relations Coordinator, (813) 258-7302.
The Museum Store has a huge selection of merchandise, from gorgeous ornaments to silver serving pieces and exquisite holiday accessories. The Museum Store also offers books, fragrances, jewelry, children’s toys, stationery, and home accessories. Enjoy shopping in a unique Victorian atmosphere: the Museum Store is open from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm daily and no admission is required.
Proceeds from the Victorian Christmas Stroll fund significant museum restoration and preservation projects, as well as educational programming.
Here is a link to a short video on the Victorian Christmas Stroll… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0_SJb21sxo
High-resolution photos are available to the media.
Underwriters of the Victorian Christmas Stroll are The Beck Group, Jacarlene Foundation, The Mosaic Company, New York Yankees Tampa Foundation Tampa Downtown Partnership, The Tampa Tribune/ News Channel 8, UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation and Walkers Shortbread.
The Henry B. Plant Museum interprets the turn-of-the-century Tampa Bay Hotel and the lifestyles of America’s Gilded Age. Critical to the success of this mission is the restoration and preservation of this National Historic Landmark, an opulent 1891 railroad destination resort, and the artifacts significant to its history and the life and work of Henry Bradley Plant. Through educational exhibits and events, the museum transports visitors of all ages and backgrounds to the late Victorian period, the beginnings of Florida’s tourist industry, and the early years of the city of Tampa.