The first taste of the Christmas season in Jacksonville kicks off this evening at the Governor Duncan Mansion. The Rev. James Caldwell Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will be opening the mansion for twilight holiday tours tonight from 5-8PM and again on Saturday from 5-7PM.
Susan Hardin, Curator of the Duncan Mansion says that the mansion will really put you in the holiday spirit: “The Duncan Mansion and Duncan Park has been decorated. It’s absolutely gorgeous. You won’t believe how it transforms that house into something that is just unbelievable. At the mansion itself, in addition to the decorations, Nick Xamis is making his infamous baklava, and his wife Jeanie, is making Mary Todd-Lincoln’s sugar cookies; and we are going to have wassail along with some other treats. Then, after you have finished with your tour at the mansion, you can go over to Blessings On State Street, and they are having an afterglow party there. All of that is included in your ticket.”
Hardin says that a limited number of advance tickets remain for purchase at Blessings on State Bed & Breakfast at 1109 West State Street. She says tickets will also be available at the door the nights of the event. Cost is $20 per adult and $10 per child. Hardin says if you are fully vaccinated, you are welcome to not wear a mask at the event. However, if you are not, you will be requested to wear a mask inside the mansion.
Hardin says it’s important for the community to show up to help the DAR and the Duncan Mansion. She says that due to COVID-19, they have not been able to hold their normal fundraisers that go towards paying for the mansion’s upkeep and regular bills: “I really hope the community shows up and supports this event.”
Hardin says that members of the public will also be welcome to stroll the historic neighborhood and enjoy lights and decoration adorning the surrounding historic homes to get into the holiday spirit this weekend.