Here comes Santa Claus: Revival Wheeler Mansion to host St. Nick

  • The Revival Wheeler Mansion at 75 East Main St. in Orange will host a Nov. 26 visit from Santa Claus from 5 to 8 p.m. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • The Revival Wheeler Mansion at 75 East Main St. in Orange will host a Nov. 26 visit from Santa Claus from 5 to 8 p.m. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Santa Claus will sit on this couch in the Revival Wheeler Mansion’s dining room to greet children as part of a community event the Orange Merchants Group will host on Nov. 26. Cynthia Butler, the mansion’s owner, said this couch was designed by Jane Wiedlin, guitarist for The Go-Go’s and a friend from her days in Los Angeles, for a music video for Wiedlin’s other band, FroSTed. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

  • Santa Claus will sit on this couch in the Revival Wheeler Mansion’s dining room to greet children as part of a community event the Orange Merchants Group will host on Nov. 26. Cynthia Butler, the mansion’s owner, said this couch was designed by Jane Wiedlin, guitarist for The Go-Go’s and a friend from her days in Los Angeles, for a music video for Wiedlin’s other band, FroSTed. STAFF PHOTO/DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer
Published: 11/22/2021 3:13:28 PM

ORANGE — It’s a safe bet to say it will be Santa Claus … in the dining room … with a smile on Black Friday.

The Revival Wheeler Mansion at 75 East Main St., the only Gilded Age mansion in the North Quabbin region, will host a Nov. 26 visit from jolly old Saint Nicholas for little ones from 5 to 8 p.m.

Owner Cynthia Butler is working with other members of the Orange Merchants Group, a voluntary collection of local businesses, to put together the free event to share with the community the grand mansion built nearly 120 years ago. Orange has a history of hosting Santa, usually at Memorial Park, though last year he was limited to a socially distanced drive-thru event at the Orange Municipal Airport due to COVID-19 health safety protocols.

“I love the idea that by opening up the home people are seeing that (Butler’s) investing all of her own money back into the little town of Orange,” said Orange Merchants Group head Tom Smith, “which is really amazing.”

Butler purchased the mansion in the summer of 2020 and started mass construction that September. She dreams of opening the mansion as a for-profit event space with a boutique bar and a hedge maze, which she plans to break ground on in the spring. The mansion holds 20 rooms and spans 15,000 square feet, not including the carriage house behind it.

Butler explained the home will be decked out as a Christmas wonderland and Santa will open the front doors at 5 p.m. Children will enter the first door on their left into the billiard room and proceed down the hall into the dining room, right off the kitchen, to meet Kris Kringle in what will serve as “the photo-op room.”

“Now they can stand next to him,” Butler said.

She mentioned Santa will sit on a couch designed by Jane Wiedlin, guitarist for The Go-Go’s and a friend from her days in Los Angeles, for a music video for FroSTed, another band Wiedlin was in. Butler said Wiedlin gave the couch to her before moving to Costa Rica years ago. Butler got it to Orange in a Penske moving truck.

Butler said visiting children will get a photo with Santa before heading down the hall to the ballroom, which will be decorated as a Christmas village of sorts, and then exiting through a side door. She said incoming and outgoing participants will be separated by a partition.

Butler and Orange Merchants Group member Faith Hamberg, owner of Focused Moments Photography, said they plan to hand out treat bags filled with candy canes and “reindeer food,” an oatmeal-and-glitter mixture children can leave for Santa’s reindeer after putting out milk and cookies.

Parking will be available at the Athol Credit Union location next door and in the downtown municipal parking lots.

Smith said a man has volunteered to decorate Memorial Park and Orange Merchants Group members will decorate Riverfront Park. Butler and Smith stressed that no taxpayer money is being used for any of the festivities.

“(It is) private citizens doing good for the town,” Butler noted.

Smith said the Orange Community Band will, starting at 5:55 p.m., perform inside the mansion for an hour.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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