Curator Rod Gemayel straightens Christmas decorations at Allandale. David Grace photo.
KINGSPORT — Allandale Mansion continues its holiday tradition next week with an invitation for the public to come tour the mansion, enjoy the Christmas decorations and for kids to have a visit with Santa Claus.
The “Christmas at Allandale Mansion” tours will be on Dec. 7 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Dec. 8 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children ages 7 to 12 and children 6 and under are free.
“We decorate the mansion every year for Christmas, and we’ve got a least one Christmas tree in every room and foyer in the mansion. Some of them have two,” said Rod Gemayel, curator of Allandale Mansion. “They’re decorated differently every year. We mix and match and move stuff around so it looks different each year.”
The tours are self-guided and normally take around 30 minutes to an hour to complete. The mansion will have people on hand throughout the house to answer any questions people may have about Allandale and its history.
The event has been held for at least the past 20 years, Gemayel said.
“It’s become a tradition,” he said. “We have a lot of people who come out every year, when they had little kids, and the little kids are now in college. People come out and look at what we’ve decorated, to get decorating ideas, and for a lot, this is the first stop of their holiday season.”
Visitors can expect to see nearly all of the rooms decorated and open to the public with antique toys on display. Guests can also snack on cookies and wassail. Santa Claus will visit with the children from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day, Gemayel said.
“(Visitors) can go all over the mansion. We have everything open but the working parts of the mansion — the dining room, parlor, living room, the master suite and library upstairs, the guest bedrooms (bride and groom’s rooms). If people want to tour the grounds, you can do that too,” Gemayel said. “There have been some people who spend half a day with us, who just like to look around at not only the trees, but the antiques and artwork.
“A lot of folks just like coming out and enjoy looking at the mansion.”
Allandale Mansion was built in the early 1950s and donated to the city of Kingsport in 1969 after the death of its owner, Harvey Brooks. The property includes the mansion, two barns, a picnic pavilion, two manmade ponds, the Heron Dome and a 2,000-square-foot amphitheater.
Today, Allandale is used for 250 to 300 events each year, including weddings, parties, reunions, showers, receptions and galas. Numerous Fun Fest events have also been held on the grounds over the years.
For more information on the event, call 229-9422.