Thursday, December 24, 2015

Touring Michigan - Manistee's Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend.

If you are enamored by the Victorian era, this is a must-do event!

We began our adventure with tea at the Buckley, a privately owned fantastic Victorian home. Afternoon tea was served in the third floor ballroom, complete with dainty sandwiches, flaky scones and delicious dainty sweets.

A tour of the home followed and it was stunningly beautiful - the ornate woodwork, the leaded glass, the plasterwork ceilings and original lighting fixtures. It made me very nostalgic for my former 1908 home!

Following tea, we toured the Manistee County Historical Museum, located right downtown in Manistee and the building remains as it existed in 1905.

For Christmas, a huge number of Victorian era trees and decorations are displayed in settings depicting a variety of traditions.

One of my favorite displays/presentations was the Magic Lantern show of the "Night Before Christmas". Magic lantern shows are always fascinating, but this one was made even better by having the narration supplied by an Edison player with a wax cylinder.

The Magic Lantern is the forerunner of the modern slide projector. It has a long and complicated history and, like lots of fascinating inventions, many people were involved in its development. No one can say for sure who invented the Magic Lantern. The Magic Lantern has been used to educate and entertain audiences for hundreds of years.

Another highlight is the working display of vintage toy trains - it's just amazing!

After the museum, we walked the downtown area, enjoying the sights and sounds, including a trombone band:

and hot roasted chestnuts: DELICIOUS!!!

Everyone joins in the fun:

Then it was parade time!

No motor vehicles, everything is horse-drawn or foot powered:

The most amazing sight is the 30+ foot tree, on a sledge, being drawn by a team of four draft horses right down the middle of the street!

They had to work hard this year, with no snow to help it slide.

Upon reaching the end of the parade, the tree is lit and the sky fills with fireworks.

Even with no snow, the town was filled with happy, enthusiastic people, truly full of the spirit of the season - we'll be back!

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