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Hills and Dales to host annual Christmas family event Saturday

Arts, crafts slated for Hills and Dales

By Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

Joanna Baxter, a docent at Hills and Dales historic estate, builds edible houses Wednesday for children to decorate at an event set for Saturday at the estate’s visitors. Crafts, entertainment and visits with Santa Claus will be free and open to the public.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_HillsDales01WEB.jpgJoanna Baxter, a docent at Hills and Dales historic estate, builds edible houses Wednesday for children to decorate at an event set for Saturday at the estate’s visitors. Crafts, entertainment and visits with Santa Claus will be free and open to the public. Tyler H. Jones | Daily News
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_HillsDales03WEB.jpgTyler H. Jones | Daily News
Joanna Baxter, a docent at Hills and Dales historic estate, builds edible houses Wednesday for children to decorate at an event set for Saturday at the estate’s visitors. Crafts, entertainment and visits with Santa Claus will be free and open to the public.
http://lagrangenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_HillsDales02WEB.jpgJoanna Baxter, a docent at Hills and Dales historic estate, builds edible houses Wednesday for children to decorate at an event set for Saturday at the estate’s visitors. Crafts, entertainment and visits with Santa Claus will be free and open to the public. Tyler H. Jones | Daily News

LaGRANGE — A family-fun event featuring crafts, music and entertainment is slated for the historic Hill and Dales Estate on Saturday.

The event runs 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the visitor’s center and is free and open to the public.

Joanna Baxter, a docent at Hills and Dales, along with other staff, worked for days this week to create more than 250 gingerbread-style houses for children to decorate. She said there will also be stations for children to make snowmen out of socks and a Christmas tree from cupcake liners.

Volunteers from LaGrange High School’s service club are scheduled to lend a hand during the activities, Baxter said.

“We try to do different things that have varying degrees of difficulty,” she said. “That way, there’s something for all the kids.”

Santa Claus is also scheduled to swing by the estate to hear the youngsters’ Christmas wishes, followed by story time with Mama Jama and singalongs with local musician Robin Treadwell.

More than 400 people attended the event last year, and Baxter said she’s looking forward to this year’s celebration. An assortment of candies will be on hand for children to decorate their gingerbread houses.

“The children love getting creative with all the different candies we have. It’s exciting to see how each house turns out so different and most importantly how proud each child is of their very own creation,” Baxter said.

She said they used every one of the gingerbread houses organizers created last year and encouraged people to come early to make sure they get one.

The 13,000-square foot home will also be open for tours, although there is an admission fee. The home, in which generations of the Callaway family lived for about 90 years, is decorated for Christmas using fresh greenery.

A 1940s-style Christmas tree, complete with tinsel and large-style glass Christmas lights, is on display in the home’s living room. Other displays include holiday gingerbread men in the home’s kitchen and pink poinsettias, which Hills and Dales Executive Director Carlton Wood said were among Alice Callaway’s favorites.

“I think people really appreciate the fresh greenery and the attention put into the home,” he said.

Hills & Dales Estate is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Adult admission is $15 while students age 7 and up are $7, but Saturday’s Children’s Christmas Celebration is free. Estate tours include museum exhibits along with a 14-minute orientation film in the visitor center.

More information is available online at www.hillsanddales.org or the Hills & Dales Estate Facebook, or by calling 706-882-3242.

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.