American Village celebrates season

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Last Friday and Saturday, the American Village in Montevallo ushered in the first of what founder and executive director Tom Walker hopes will become a tradition.

Visitors from all around the state and Southeast came to the village for &8220;Christmas by Candlelight,&8221; a special candlelight tour featuring festivities around the colonial village.

&8220;What this is for us is the start of a signature event,&8221; said Walker. &8220;I really think this is the start of a long lasting tradition. It will probably grow to be multiple weekends eventually.&8221;

According to

the staff at the village, the new event attracted many new visitors unfamiliar with the American Village.

&8220;It&8217;s been so packed out with people. We&8217;ve had people from all different backgrounds, and we actually had some people visiting from Japan in here last night,&8221; said Jessica Richards, an actress whose role was to tell visitors the history of the Oval Office.

Walker said that he had met a couple who came from Laurel, Miss. just to see the specially lighted village and join in the Christmas festivities.

Though over the next two weekends Father Christmas, or Santa to most people, will be visiting with children at the Village, &8220;Christmas by Candlelight&8221; officially marked the beginning of the holidays for the living history museum.

The pathways in the village were lined with over 400 luminaries, and each building was decorated festively with poinsettias and other holiday items that could be found during the colonial era.

Carolers sung traditional Christmas carols in the assembly room in Washington Hall, and George Washington greeted guests who entered the Mt. Vernon Room. The room was set up with a lavish banquet of Cornish hen, homemade bread, pomegranates, oranges and prunes, flatbread, orange cake, sweet potato cake, short bread, gravy and Madeira wine.

The new Southern Living Showcase House was decorated too, and Father Christmas sat outside on the back porch talking with guests at they left the house for Christmas cookies, cider and hot chocolate.

&8220;The whole village staff poured themselves out yesterday getting ready for this,&8221; said Walker. &8220;The crew who worked on decorations have been planning it for a long time.&8221;

Rebecca Beaty, director of education at the village said, &8220;We&8217;re all just in awe of the way the village looks this year.&8221;