Spending time at historic sites with your fellow interpreters and spreading cheer to the public is the best way to end the season/start the new year. I love the fresh greenery and hand made ornaments and bright oranges and delicious cakes and cookies and breads.
At the start of December, 11 of us put on a special Christmas event at Macktown in Rockton, IL. We used two buildings and actually portrayed the people who lived in them at one time (interpreter’s dream come true? maybe an analysis for another post).
The first building, the stone house, is one we use often at other events. It served as Mr. Whitman’s trading post and tavern.
The fine Mr. Whitman himself and his second wife.
He was excited because his new stove just arrived, but he was waiting for someone to cross the river to help him move it in the house. Mrs. Whitman is less than thrilled because she wants it in the house now, so she can use it for Christmas.
There was a lot of bustle and commotion in this building because they were just moving in, unpacking boxes, and putting away dishes to prepare for the celebration of the 12 Days of Christmas.
They offered warm cider to the guests.
They hired another man, A, to assist with business affairs.
The other building was the Stephen Mack House – the original one from the 1840s (or 30s?). It’s a decent sized house, with cheery yellow trim and good sized rooms. I played Hononegah who married Stephen Mack when she was quite young. It was the first time I got to wear something other than stays at an event!!! (It was quite freeing I admit).
Mr. Mack prepares for visitors.
In the kitchen we were making paper ornaments with the children. Christmas trees were just starting to become popular in the early 1840s so that allowed for us to question the children about the types of decorations they have around their houses.
Mrs. T kept a careful eye on the children to make sure no one injured themselves with scissors.
The dining rooms was decorated with sumptuous food and we had a small tree in the corner, which we decorated.
Mr. Mack entertained local neighbors. The adults helped decorate the dining room and parlor with fresh greenery and Mr. A and Mr. Mack took turns reading the story of St. Nikolas, which was written in the 1820s.
The neighbor, Mr. A, also shot a turkey for part of the Christmas feasting.
C, Mrs. S, and I all had ourselves a mini sew along for our 1840s dresses for this event. Even though I played Hononegah, I made an 1840s dress to wear after our official event was over when we walked in the parade. I had a quick costume change (probably the fastest I’ve ever gotten in and out of historic clothing — thank you front hooking Victorian corsets!). Sadly we did not get a picture of the three of us all together in broad daylight.
But here’s me, in the house, in my 1840s dress, before we walk in the parade.
All research and prep behind the scenes was accomplished by the delightful Mrs. S! None of it would have happened without her.
All photos on this post are courtesy of Mrs. B who was not dressed in period clothing, but was instead our official event photographer!! Thank you!
As part of our program, we invited the public to donate canned food items to a local food pantry.