by Tara Banninger
The 2012 Jim Thorpe Victorian Festival takes place September 14 and 15. Details below!
Three years ago, I was honored when I was approached to be a member of the Victorian Heritage Festival committee. The committee wanted to take their annual fund raising ball and turn it into a weekend of activity. The success I had with the First Annual Burlesque Festival prompted them to seek me to join them and help boost their organization by lending what I had learned at the Burlesque Festival to the Victorian Heritage Festival. The committee is completely run by volunteers, including myself. We all work tirelessly to organize and promote the yearly Victorian Ball; the center of the activities that occur on our heritage weekend. As one committee member put it yesterday, it’s a labor of love.
Our festival, while more low key, has a series of events that pays tribute to Jim Thorpe, or Mauch Chunk’s, rich Victorian past. Our little weekend is a chance for you to glimpse into what it was like in Jim Thorpe as you stroll through town and catch the Mauch Chunk Players in full Victorian costume promenading at the train station and up Broadway. Occasionally, you’ll hear a conversation or two between the two “characters” of Jim Thorpe’s past or you’ll hear them singing off the Balcony of the Inn at Jim Thorpe.
For this year’s theme, I proposed a Victorian Wedding re-enactment. After all, weddings are my business! The committee all agreed and we began putting it all together. Our first task was selecting which Jim Thorpe couple we would like to pay tribute to and Harry Packer and Mary Lockhart were a pretty easy choice. This year’s festival kicks off on Friday September 14th. There will be a lecture by town historian Jack Gunsser at Through the Looking Glass Cafe at 7pm (buffet will be served at $14.95/person). There are many activities planned throughout the day on Saturday that culminates at the ball.
We have so many to thank for their contributions. First, Agnes of Neusse Photography will be donating her services to our cause. We have been granted the rare privilege of photographing the couple playing our Bride & Groom inside the Asa Packer Mansion (thank you Lions club of Jim Thorpe) as well as the other players in full costume on the porch of the mansion. Our wedding cake is being donated by Stephanie of Icing on the Cake. The flower centerpieces that will adorn our dinner tables and the bridal bouquet that the Victorian Bride will carry, are being donated by Jean of Rose Boutique Unique Floral Studio. I have the privilege of being members together with these ladies in the Elegant Lehigh Valley Weddings & Special Events group. Kyle, of Crystal View Carriage, will be taking the “Bride” and her entourage up Broadway for what is sure to be a great photo opportunity. Their work is amazing and I am honored that they generously donated their services to our cause.
The Victorian wedding-themed ball, complete with a wedding ceremony re-enactment, will take place at the beautiful Mauch Chunk Ballroom at 41 West Broadway in Jim Thorpe. Cocktails start at 5pm followed by the wedding ceremony, dinner and dancing.
Please stop by the Victorian Heritage Festival website to learn more about the event and purchase tickets. Victorian costumes are encouraged but not required! Tickets for the ball are $50 each and proceeds benefit the Kemmerer Carriage House Restoration. Of course, strolling through our beautiful town is always free.
Tara Banninger is a local wedding planner and owner of Jim Thorpe Weddings & Events, the exclusive manager and planner of the Mauch Chunk Ballroom space and producer of the Jim Thorpe Wedding Expo . For more information about weddings in Jim Thorpe & The Mauch Chunk Ballroom, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 484-629-5070.