Santa Claus is coming to town early, arriving at the Marsh House Nov. 25 from 2-4 p.m. to pose for photos with all the good little boys and girls.
"Skip the long lines at the mall and come to the Marsh House for a fun and enjoyable Santa experience," said Marsh House events coordinator Mary Smitherman, of LaFayette. "No appointment is necessary. The cost is a $15 sitting fee that includes two 5-by-7 photos. Each additional photo is $5. Proceeds from this fundraising event go to the Marsh House."
Families can take tours of the Marsh House in November on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 1-3 p.m. Tours cost $5 for adults and $1 for children. Holiday Candlelight Tours at the historic house begin Dec. 7 after the LaFayette Christmas Parade. Candlelight tours will continue every Saturday and Sunday in December starting at 6 p.m.
The theme of the 2012 Holiday Candlelight Tour is "Home with the Marsh-Warthen Family: 1880."
"The Marsh House will be decorated in simple motif appropriate to the status of the Marsh family," said Marsh House docent coordinator Jennie Chandler. "We will use natural greenery so abundant to our area. Eight docents and four junior docents will be dressed in period attire. The women will wear long skirts and the men will wear a tweed coat, a sweater vest and a top hat."
First-person narratives will be presented by the tour guides dressed in period clothing. The guides will take on the roles of Marsh and Warthen family members who both lived in the house in the late 1800s.
"This will be a very unique and different program for the Christmas season," said Chandler. "As a house museum, we are primarily interested in the history of the former occupants of the house. We will emphasize holiday customs of the late 1800s."
The tours begin in the formal parlor (the first room on the left of the entrance) where the family used to gather for Christmas morning. A Christmas tree decorated with cornucopias sealed with candied nuts, needlepoint ornaments and glass ornaments and wreaths will decorate the room. Docents giving tours will talk about the origins of the Christmas tradition. A gingerbread house exhibit made by local third-graders will be on display inside the house.
"On the tours we will talk about what life was like in 1880," said Walker County Historical Society president David Boyle, of Noble. "We will have scenarios of what was going on in that time. Christmas was much simpler than now. The Marsh family was Baptist and influenced by the Primitive Baptists."
The Marsh family had five children ranging in age from 2 to 19 living in the house in 1880. Boyle said the family had a Christmas tree, exchanged a few gifts and sang Christmas carols.
"We are going for historical authenticity," he said. "I hope for several hundred people to come and take the tours. We will serve hot cider and gingerbread at the end of the tour."
For more information on the Santa Claus photos at the Marsh House call Mary Smitherman at 423-718-9918. To learn more about the Marsh House visit www.marshhouseoflafayette.com or call the house at 706-638-5187 on Thursday.