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Holiday memories on display at Hower House

11/8/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Each room at Hower House, like the North Bedroom, shown above, was decorated with the theme “Favorite Holiday Memories” in mind. The house will be decorated through the end of December.
Photos courtesy of Hower House
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Visitors to Hower House this holiday season will have the chance to celebrate their favorite holiday memories while making new ones.

Dolls are found on a tree and throughout the North Bedroom at Hower House this holiday season.
For the first time ever, the historic house museum on The University of Akron (UA) campus will play host to Santa Claus, who will be on hand for Breakfast with Santa and to meet with young visitors.

Diane Rock, a Sagamore Hills resident who is the chairperson of the holiday committee, said volunteers dug deep into their own memories to come up with special things that symbolize the holiday season.

“The house was always such a beautiful home,” Rock said. “It’s a little gem that people are unaware of. Our goal is to get the community involved and open it up to younger visitors and make it a destination.”

For the task, each room has been designed to reflect the volunteer designers’ special holiday memories.

“Our volunteers came up with some wonderful childhood memories, such as things their parents made in the kitchen to the type of music they listened to,” Rock said.

Some of the themes include dolls and shopping trips to Downtown Cleveland, she added.

To involve the community in the effort, visitors are asked to bring in copies of photos that show family members’ visits with Santa through the years. They will be displayed in the home. Also, children are invited to contribute handmade ornaments for Christmas trees in the house, Rock said.

Volunteers also have wrapped more than 100 packages to help set the mood for the season, she added. Christmas trees are used throughout.

“There are some beautiful renditions of the holidays, from a silver tree with colored lights to a tree made out of packages,” Rock said.

Santa Claus will meet visitors on Saturdays, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, 8 and 15, from noon to 3 p.m. Rock added that Santa’s Workshop will be recreated in the home’s ballroom and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen also will be set up with the help of UA interior design students.

“All the kids visiting get a pack of reindeer food, which is made of oats, because of its connection to the Howers,” Rock said.

Children who want to spend more time with Santa Claus can take part in Breakfast with Santa Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to noon. For reservations and information, call 330-972-6909.

Rock said this year’s holiday exhibit also will feature an array of local entertainers providing music on Saturdays and Sundays.

“Grace Hower was very involved in the arts, and we want to give a gift back to the community,” Rock said.

The Cellar Door Store, which features some of the items on display in the house this season, will be open with complimentary wassail and cookies.

The Hower House holiday exhibit is now open Wednesdays through Sundays through Dec. 30, with the exception of Nov. 22 and Dec. 26. Self-guided tours are available from noon to 3:30 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens (ages 65 and older), $2 for students and free for children 6 and younger.

Hower House is located at 60 Fir Hill. For additional information, call or go to the website www3.uakron.edu/howerhse.

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