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Christmas Parades

It's the most creative time of the year

New programs enhance the OI holiday events lineup

December 1, 2013
Times Leader

WHEELING - Oglebay Institute is once again hosting a series of holiday events for area families to enjoy.

OI director of marketing Misty Klug said, "The OI holiday lineup includes many cherished traditions as well as new programs that will kindle the holiday spirit and bring the community together to celebrate in creative ways."

Some of the traditional programs include the annual holiday decorating extravaganza "Holidays at the Mansion" and performances of "The Nutcracker" ballet. New additions include a production of the heartwarming holiday classic "The Gift of the Magi" at Towngate Theatre and a "Night Tree" program at the Schrader Environmental Education Center, where families decorate a tree with edible ornaments as gifts for the animals of the woods.

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A holiday tradition since 1973, the Holidays at the Mansion decorating exhibit is open to the public through Jan. 5 at the Mansion Museum in Oglebay. Michelle Runkle of Wheeling decorated the Empire Sitting Room for the Holidays at the Mansion decorating exhibit.

"Every year our staff comes up with new ways to engage people in creative holiday endeavors," Klug said. "Many people find the holiday season particularly inspiring so we strive to present a variety of programs this time of year that enrich the spirit, ignite creativity and inspire the imagination."

The Gift of the Magi

Based on the short story by O. Henry, "The Gift of the Magi" follows a young, penniless, married couple on a selfless journey to make each other's holiday dreams come true.

"This holiday classic is about the wisest gift of all - the gift of love," said Towngate Theatre director Tim Thompson. "It is family friendly and has a great message about not losing sight of the true joy of giving."

In addition to the show, guests can attend pre- and post-performance receptions in Towngate's newly renovated lobby, which will be decked for the holidays. Guests will be greeted by carolers in Victorian-era costumes, enjoy holiday cookies and punch, mingle with cast members and join in the singing of Christmas carols around a beautifully decorated tree.

The show is approximately one hour in length with no intermission.

"We invite everyone to come early and stay late to enjoy some holiday cheer with Towngate actors and staff," Thompson said.

The show takes place at 8 p.m. Dec. 13, 14, 20 and 21. A matinee will be staged at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15.

Night Tree

Putting a new twist on the traditional holiday craft project, Oglebay Institute's Schrader Environmental Education Center will swap paper for pinecones, glitter for nuts and glue for a dollop of vegetable fat.

The Center will host a "Night Tree" family event that director Alice Eastman hopes will become a new tradition.

The program will follow the story of "Night Tree," a classic children's tale written by Eve Bunting about a young family that travels into the forest to decorate a tree with edible, animal-friendly ornaments they made at home.

"It's about getting back to the giving spirit of the season, cherishing time spent with family and celebrating our natural world," said Eastman. " 'Night Tree' is a great way to pass along those lessons. We hope this program becomes an annual tradition at OI."

"Night Tree" takes places from 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 at the Schrader Center, located in Oglebay Resort.

Guests will enjoy a reading of this heartwarming book, making tasty, animal-friendly treats and placing them on the Schrader Center's Night Tree as gifts for the animals that call the Oglebay woods home. There will be "people" snacks and hot cider, too, and families can take home a few treats to hang on their own Night Trees.

Holiday Art Show & Sale

Oglebay Institute's Holiday Art Show and Sale showcases the talent of regional artisans, providing them with a venue to sell their handcrafted items and gives area residents an alternative to traditional retail shopping to purchase unique gifts for the holidays, Klug explained.

The show takes place at two Oglebay Institute venues- the Stifel Fine Arts Center on National Road and the Schrader Environmental Education Center in Oglebay.

"More than 50 artisans are participating this year. Different artists and merchandise are featured at each location," Klug said. "The selection is fantastic. The atmosphere is relaxed and festive, and holiday shopping dollars spent at the show stay in our local economy."

The Holiday Art Show and Sale is sponsored by United Bank of West Virginia and Jackson Kelly PLLC and continues through Dec. 27. Admission at both locations is free.

The Nutcracker

Oglebay Institute's School of Dance contributes to the holiday festivities by staging several productions of the beloved holiday classic "The Nutcracker" at two OI venues.

Performances take place at 3 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15 and 1 and 3 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Mansion Museum in Oglebay Resort. Each show includes tea and photos with the cast and an opportunity to tour "Holidays at the Mansion." "The Nutcracker" will be performed at Towngate Theatre at 3 and 7 p.m. Dec. 26.

Caroling at the Mansion

A festive evening filled with old-fashioned holiday cheer takes place at the community carol sing from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 13 outside the Mansion Museum.

Klug said individuals, families and community groups are encouraged to participate. The event is free and open to people of all ages. "All you need to do is be there, dress warmly and sing along. Bring your children and grandchildren, friends and neighbors."

Carolers will gather on the front porch of the Mansion Museum and sing a lively mix of traditional holiday tunes as well as some modern day favorites. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served, and participants receive a complimentary songbook to take home.

Holidays at the Mansion

A holiday tradition since 1973, the Holidays at the Mansion decorating exhibit is open to the public through Jan. 5.

Talented decorators have decked the Mansion Museum's 13 period rooms, plus hallways and staircases, in holiday splendor. The decor ranges from simple elegance to the extravagant, and visitors will find decorating inspiration to take back to their own homes.

"We are very grateful for the generous support of event sponsor Panhandle Cleaning and Restoration and all the volunteer decorators who donated their time and talents to magically transform the Mansion Museum for the holidays," Klug said.

The Mansion Museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Holiday Art Camp & Paint Your Own Pottery

In addition to year-round youth visual arts classes, OI offers special opportunities for children to express their creativity by making holiday art projects, which they can display in their homes or give as gifts.

Holiday Art Camps take place from 9 a.m. to 3p.m. Dec. 20 and 23 at the Stifel Fine Arts Center and are available for kids in grades 1-4 and 5 8.

Paint Your Own Pottery is available at the Schrader Environmental Education Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and noon to 4p.m. Sunday now through Dec. 29. Children and adults can choose from several different holiday-inspired pottery pieces to glaze. Pieces must be left overnight and picked up the next morning. No reservations are necessary for this program.

Klug said a complete listing of holiday happenings at Oglebay Institute is available on the organization's website at, and customer service representatives can be reached by calling 304-242-7700 and are available to assist patrons and answer questions.