hank you to all the volunteers, entertainers, and especially the guests who made this holiday season at Poplar Hill such a success! We had over 500 people visit us this holiday season for the various events, parties and to see the house beautifully decorated.
Our season kicked off with a free small standard flower show presented by the Four Seasons Garden Club, a member of the Federated Garden Clubs of Maryland and the National Garden Clubs in the Central Atlantic Region. Visitors had a chance to see local flowers and other horticulture as well as different arrangements inspired by several categories, presented by members of the Club. This was a judged competition with ribbons given in the various categories. Best in Show for arrangements went to Frances Follmer in the category of Season of Light.
The Yuletide Open House continues to be a part of our holiday tradition. Harpist Kara Dahl Russell was once again our featured performer for the event and this was part of our Music at the Mansion series. She graced us with her beautiful harp music for the third year and we are so happy to host her!
Probably our most popular event during the season is our Tea with Santa and Mrs. Claus. This is an annual favorite for families to attend. This year, we not only had the guest of honor and his wife, but we also had Stephanie Brilliant, Miss Pure International Teen 2018 in attendance. It was a wonderful day as children from as far away as Pennsylvania, got to enjoy seeing Santa, eating cookies, and drinking tea poured from our 1911 Jenkins & Jenkins sterling silver tea service. The children also enjoyed visiting our second floor where they got to see the Nutcrackers displayed in the Nursery, a holiday village complete with trolley, and a Christmas tree with over 1,500 ornaments. Every year we have children who try to find the Christmas Pickle on the tree, as it is meant to bring good luck in the coming year.
The Music at the Mansion Series also continued with a holiday performance from Canzona Diversa. The consort, or quartet, features Susan Parker on the violin, Jim Ressegger on the viola da gamba, Karen Zera on the recorder, and Bill Alexander on the guitar and the pianoforte. Canzona Diversa has been practicing at the Mansion and wanted to say thank you by offering to do a recital of their holiday music. They have been working hard and trying new material from the Baroque and Renaissance periods, as well as their regular repertoire of early 19th Century music. While not a formal concert, guests had the opportunity to enjoy the ambiance of the holiday music while looking at the holiday decorations throughout the first and second floors of the Mansion.