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Published: Monday, 12/4/2006

Manor spins holiday magic

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kari Sweeney gets into the spirit of the  Snapshots of Christmas Past  display as her mother, Kathi Sweeney, left, watches.

Kari Sweeney gets into the spirit of the Snapshots of Christmas Past display as her mother, Kathi Sweeney, left, watches.
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A ho-hum holiday display?

Nope, not at the Metroparks Manor House, where Santa s in the shower and fish are on the trees.

From the closets to the kitchen, from the bedrooms to the basement, the grand old house sparkles with baubles and bangles, and delights with memories and magic.

This is one of the nicest times of the year at the Manor House, said Margaret Deedman, a Toledo resident who has served as a volunteer at the annual holiday event for 20 years. Different people decorate different rooms each year. A lot of collectors bring in their things. Every year, the Manor looks different for the holiday.

Visitors to the Manor House at Wildwood Metropark take in the holiday decorations from the main staircase of the 68-year-old mansion. The former Stranahan home s annual Christmas display, in its 31st year, runs through Sunday.
Visitors to the Manor House at Wildwood Metropark take in the holiday decorations from the main staircase of the 68-year-old mansion. The former Stranahan home s annual Christmas display, in its 31st year, runs through Sunday.
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Well, some folks said that Santa has been in the shower more than once. There he is again, visitors remarked as they spied the Jolly Ol Elf dressed in his Santa suit, not his birthday suit in the shower in one of the Manor House s bathrooms. Pots of poinsettias seemed to float in a bubble bath in the Santa s Shower of Flowers exhibit. Even the toilet water twinkled with glitter.

Yesterday marked opening day for the 31st annual Holidays in the Manor House at Wildwood Preserve, 5100 West Central Ave. This year, 26 decorated areas are featured on the tour.

In the parlor, the game s the thing. A Monopoly game was spread out on a table near a towering tree decked out with playing cards, dominos, and ornaments dressed up like billiard balls.

Another decorator had a ball trimming a tall tree with things that can be kicked and dribbled, tossed and spiked there were dozens of ornaments in the shape of footballs, basketballs, soccer balls, golf balls, and baseballs.

On a nearby tree, a school of fish ornaments was swimming away from lures and bobbers dangling from lower branches.

Some themed rooms capture the imagination of youngsters, such as the Little Divas room, fit for a princess. A fluffy white puppy, wearing pretty pink sunglasses, caught the eye of 7-year-old Amelia Curtis of Holland as she entered the room. Amelia was visiting the Manor House with her grandmother, Janet Cupps of Maumee. The room is all pink and frilly. It s you all the way, Mrs. Cupps told her granddaughter.

Ben Grant, 9, and his sister, Jillian Grant, 6, of Maumee take a peek at a holiday scene through a window
at the Manor House. Ben Grant, 9, and his sister, Jillian Grant, 6, of Maumee take a peek at a holiday scene through a window at the Manor House.
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For some northwest Ohio residents, the annual tour of the Manor House officially ushers in their holiday season. It sets the tone for our holidays. It starts off our holidays, Tom Ferris of Toledo said. It s a special holiday season for Mr. Ferris and his wife, Shelly; this is their first Christmas as Mr. and Mrs. they were married in August. I enjoy coming here each year, said Mrs. Ferris, who is a volunteer at the Manor House. With all the different ideas each year, it always amazes me.

And the amount of work involved is amazing, too, she said. Designers and decorators worked three 12-hour days to set up the displays, said Janet Rozick, historic programs manager for the Metroparks; her duties include supervising the Manor House.

About 600 volunteers assist with Holidays in the Manor House; it runs through Dec. 10. Last year the holiday event drew 15,000 visitors. There is no admission fee.

In addition to touring the Manor House, visitors were browsing the nearby Farmhouse Gift Shop.

Historian Ted Ligibel welcomes visitors to the 31st
annual Holidays in the Manor House, which runs through
Sunday at the former Stranahan mansion in Wildwood
Metropark. Historian Ted Ligibel welcomes visitors to the 31st annual Holidays in the Manor House, which runs through Sunday at the former Stranahan mansion in Wildwood Metropark.
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In the Oak Grove School, 7-year-old Casey Calderon and his 13-year-old brother, Thomas, put peanut butter and seed on pine cones to make bird feeders at a craft project table in the one-room schoolhouse; the Holland, Ohio, boys are Scouts who often participate in Metroparks activities. They planned to tour the Manor House later in the afternoon.

On a flight of stairs in the Manor House, statues of shepherds tended flocks of sheep as angels watched. In a closet area, shelves were packed with a blizzard of snowmen hundreds of them.

Some exhibits sparked memories of Christmas past. When I was a kid, everyone could afford a Lionel train. Now they re $500 a shot, said one father as he looked around a room decorated with a train and lots of other toys and trinkets.

In the Manor House kitchen, a recording of Bing Crosby, crooning a Christmas song, greeted visitors. Mmmm. Smells good in here, said Jan Kosmyna of Point Place.

She pointed out to her granddaughters Natalie and Hannah Abel of Cincinnati the wooden ladder that was used to reach the cupboards near the kitchen ceiling.

Teddy bears were on parade in several decorated rooms, including the We can bearly wait for Christmas area in the Manor House s basement. Bears, bears, and more bears. Baby bears on benches. Bears tucked around tables, wrapped up with wreaths. And to top it off, a tower of pandas with presents on their heads.

Contact Janet Romaker at: jromaker@theblade.com or 419-724-6006.



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