Take a trip back in time

Mirelez, top, and Suen decorate the Christmas tree at the Gilroy

GILROY
– For the last few years, the Gilroy Community Services
Recreation Division has had a Victorian Christmas event of some
sort – from tea parties to fashion shows.
GILROY – For the last few years, the Gilroy Community Services Recreation Division has had a Victorian Christmas event of some sort – from tea parties to fashion shows. Now, for the first time, they have truly brought the past alive with A Victorian Christmas living history event, to be held this Saturday at the Gilroy Museum and Willey House.

“One of the docents wanted to know if we could put some history into the event,” said Cathy Mirelez, Gilroy Museum director. A joint effort between the Recreation department, Gilroy Historical Society and Calpine, the Victorian Christmas promises to be the most elaborate of the city’s holiday productions thus far.

The buildings on Fifth Street, including the Willey House and Museum, are some of the city’s oldest and will be open for tours.

“The buildings span from about 1855 to 1916. … We’re trying to recreate an atmosphere of what it was like before and right after the turn of the century. People see the buildings a lot, but they don’t know much about them,” said Historical Society member Connie Rogers. Rogers will be one of the small army of volunteers at the event.

There will be other opportunities to be entertained and educated at the event. From the moment visitors step onto the porch of the Willey House, they will see authentic demonstrations of Victorian woodworking. Within the house, quilting demonstrations will be held and guests can learn to make their own Christmas ornaments. The museum will offer all its regular exhibits for the curious visitor, as well as displays of Victorian-era children’s toys, clothing – which little ones will have the chance to try on – and visits with a certain red-robed, white-bearded bringer of holiday joy . . . what? No, not Santa Claus, Father Christmas!

A Victorian Christmas living history event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Willey House and Gilroy Museum, on Fifth St. in Gilroy. The event will cost $10 per person, payable at the Willey House. Children under the age of 10 get in free, but must be accompanied by an adult. Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call Gilroy Community Services at 846-0460 or the Gilroy Museum at 848-0470.

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