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Aug 15, 2018







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Candlelight Stroll

Where: Strawbery Banke Museum, 14 Hancock St., Portsmouth 
When: Saturday, Dec. 16, from 5 to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 17, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Cost: $25 for adults, $12.50 for kids ages 5 to 17, or $60 for families with two adults and two kids.
Visit: strawberybanke.org or call 433-1100




Walk through time
Candlelight stroll takes guests to a distant past

12/14/17
By Ethan Hogan



 “Welcome, Stranger” is the theme of this year’s Candlelight Stroll at Strawbery Banke, where guests will walk through each era of the village’s eclectic 300-year history.

According to Alena Shellenbean, special events manager, that history includes stories of the earliest settlers all the way up to people living in the 1950s.
“From its very early days, it was the site of immigrants and new people in the area. It was a very inclusive neighborhood throughout a lot of its history,” said Shellenbean.
Guests will walk the candlelit grounds of the Portsmouth village and visit historically preserved houses along the way. Eight of the houses will tell the story of a particular time in the village’s history, using period-accurate holiday botanical decorations and reenactors who play actual people who once lived there.
“It’s not just our colonial history — we tell the story of change over time through the real people that lived in the south end of Portsmouth,” said Shellenbean. “We are always trying to tell the stories that still resonate with people in this day and age. … They had big families and small families, they had tough jobs and easy jobs — when you get right down to it, they were going through some of the same things.”
Guests will learn the history of each era and how the traditions of the holidays changed over time with the arrival of different types of people. Shellenbean said the tradition of having a Christmas tree, for example, was brought to New England by German immigrants.
“It’s a good time to also look at how our holiday traditions have changed with introductions to things from other places. … Even some of those traditions that are very much a part of who we are were [the traditions of] strangers at one time,” said Shellenbean.
The houses will have demonstrations of holiday traditions, like 18th-century hearth cooking, punched tin lantern making, basket weaving and woodworking. A hands-on cotton threading station will show guests how to make thread into cloth. The horticulture center will be teaching holiday botanical decoration methods from each era, including wreath making and pressed flower cards.
Walking the grounds of the village are familiar characters like Saint Nick, a choir leader and the 1860s mayor of Portsmouth, Frank Jones, who built factories in town. Some unfamiliar characters will also walk the grounds, like a fishing wife who is trying to sell the last catch of the day and the air raid warden making sure people are ready for a World War II attack.
Saint Nick will be in his Old European Father Christmas garb handing out peppermint sticks. Even though he’s from a time when he was known as Father Christmas, Shellenbean said he won’t mind being called Santa.
Horse and carriage rides will be available and the ice skating rink will be open. Indoors, there will be a puppet show and a Victorian magic show.
“Even before folks in this area celebrated Christmas, December was a time to go visiting your neighbors and give thanks for what you had,” said Shellenbean.





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