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Joe Manchin III, Governor
Frank Jezioro, Director

News Release : October 5, 2007

Hoy Murphy, Public Information Officer (304) 558-3381 hoymurphy@wvdnr.gov
Contact:
Donna Smith, Superintendent, Blennerhassett Island (304) 420-4800 or Pam Salisbury, Ticket Coordinator pamsalisbury@wvdnr.gov

The Mansion by Candlelight Tours at Blennerhassett Island Oct. 12 and 13 It’s a 19th century party!

Parkersburg WV -- Blennerhassett Island’s Mansion by Candlelight Tour is an island party by 18th century design. Reservations are still available for this annual event scheduled on Friday, October 12 and Saturday, October 13, 2007.

The journey begins by boarding the Valley Gem sternwheeler at Point Park in downtown Parkersburg, W.Va. and returning to the year 1805 where Mr. and Mrs. Blennerhassett have planned a grand party for all their guests on their island known today as Blennerhassett Island State Park. This candlelight tour is a chance to experience the exciting social life of 200 years ago -- the world known by Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett and their friends.

A bountiful harvest dinner is available on both nights (advance reservations only) of roasted pork, seasoned potatoes, baked beans, Cole slaw, rolls, apple crisp, and a beverage. Reservations are required for the pig roast and must be made by October 9. Or, if you prefer to complete you historical adventure, the concession stand also offers a variety of food and drink to satisfy your appetite.

The Mansion by Candlelight Tour, sponsored by the Friends of Blennerhassett, began in 1996 and has since become an annual event. As you board an authentic sternwheeler at Point Park you will be cast into the role of a guest at Margaret’s and Harman’s island home and estate. Harman Blennerhassett, a wealthy Irish aristocrat, settled on the wilderness island in 1798 with his lovely wife Margaret and completed construction of their magnificent mansion in 1800.

According to event coordinators, the island takes on a new persona as the sun goes down and the candlelight from the hundreds of lit lanterns begin to illuminate the graveled paths directing you from the sternwheeler landing to the candlelit mansion, the servant’s party, pig roast, gift shop, and other activities. The flickering of the candles set the mood as you listen to music, see dances, or watch a lively game of cards. Park employee Pam Salisbury says “The island is absolutely beautiful and individuals attending Mansion by Candlelight will feel like thy have steeped back 200 years in time.”

The candlelight tour is an evening with something for everyone to enjoy. At the servants’ party, Buck McCumbers’ Bluegrass Band will delight with music and attendees may participate in some lively dance as well as listen to spin-tingling stories of local folklore told by Galen Smith, and sample homemade apple butter made by the Stillwell 4-Hers.

Another featured attraction for Saturday, October 13 only, is the Appalachian Celtic Consort. This group performs traditional Scottish and Irish music in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia. The music catches the energy of the Celtic ceili, where musicians would gather just for the craic (Craic – pronounced “crack” but meaning “great fun”).

A Celtic Consort started out in 1998 with Mike Petersen on concertina, Dewey Sanderson on hammered dulcimer, and Pat Wiegand on guitar. Shortly thereafter, Mark Nelson joined the group to lend a hand with pennywhistle, bagpipes and flute. Neil Cadle rounds out the band playing bohdran, other percussion instruments, and mandolin. Their CD’s include: “A St. Andrew's Day Celebration,” “Drop O’ the Pure,” and “Come By the Hills.”

“Celtic Consort’s performance on Saturday promises to add an element of craic (great fun) to this year’s activities,” according to Pam Salisbury.

While on the island enjoy a horse-drawn wagon ride, walk the property, visit the gift shop and warm yourself by an inviting bonfire at the servant’s party. “Fall colors in our Parkersburg-Wood county area are going to be great for this weekend and will make our event even more memorable,” Salisbury adds.

Harvest dinner (pig roast) reservations are taken until October 9th. Boat/mansion tour/wagon tickets can be reserved in advance; however, any unsold boat/mansion tickets will be available each evening of the event at Point Park ticket outlet or the Blennerhassett Museum. Wagon ride tickets will also be available on the island for purchase, as available. This is a rain or shine event.

Call the park office at (304) 420-4800 for prices or to make reservations, or stop at the Blennerhassett Regional Museum at 2nd and Juliana streets to purchase your tickets.

**DNR**



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