Russian Winter Festival at Hillwood
Hillwood is the final home and resting place of Postum Cereal Company heiress Marjorie Merriweather Post. After her father's death, she successfully managed and expanded his company into the wildly successful General Foods Corporation with second husband E.F. Hutton. With her spectacular wealth and diplomatic experience, she purchased and remodeled the estate she named Hillwood to be used as both her home and as a museum. Special display cases and lighting were installed to show her cherished decorative arts pieces from 18th century France and imperial Russia, including the works of Fabergé. The gardens were designed as outdoor rooms for the purpose of entertaining. Read my write-up here.
Every winter, the mansion is decked out with Christmas trees, each beautifully decorated with shimmering gold, jewels and flowers.
Winter floral arrangements and waves of poinsettias add bright, natural color to the ornately furnished rooms.
In the Visitor Center, little kids can enjoy plays based on Russian folktales. Outside, a stroll through the garden is still enjoyable even on a cold, steel-gray day.
The festivities continue in the tented, climate controlled café. There you'll find live performances of traditional Russian singing and music, and dance that will make your knees hurt by just watching it! You can grab a snack and clap along with the lively entertainment. Here are a few clips:
We also enjoyed the craft room where decorative paper, lace, faux fur and jewels, and glue are spread on tables for making traditional Russian crowns and hats. Boy, was that a challenge! My sis and I, who had been crafty as kids, had lost our creative edge somewhere along the way. We stared blankly at the art supplies, while 5-year-old kids twirled around us proudly displaying their lacy, jeweled crowns. I think we laughed more than we glued, and in the end came up with something. Notice I did not take any pictures if that gives you an idea of how successful we were. But it was a fun way to forget the stress of life and laugh at ourselves for being outdone by elementary school kids!
This is an event we will definitely do again! This year, in 2019, the event will be held on December 14 and 15. Check the website for more information about the Russian Winter Festival and other holiday activities at the Estate.