PARKERSBURG, W.Va. - The Mansion by Candlelight Tour, sponsored by the Friends of Blennerhassett, began in 1996 and has become the island’s most popular annual event, according to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park
Supt. Matt Baker. Mansion by Candlelight is Friday, Oct. 11 and Saturday, Oct. 12.
“It's an 18th century party,” Baker said. “The mansion and grounds are illuminated by hundreds of candles and lantern boxes. Docents, dressed in period costumes, welcome you. You can listen to period music and enjoy 18th century dances. Other activities include bonfires, harvest supper, dancing, horse drawn wagon rides, and more.”
Reservations are required. Tickets are available by calling 304-420-4800. Tickets for the sternwheeler boat ride, mansion visit and wagon ride are $25 for adults and $17 for youth 3-13 years of age. The Harvest Supper is $15 for any age and reservations for the meal must be made by Oct. 8. Boat departure times are every half-hour from 6 to 8 p.m. from Civitan Park in Belpre, Ohio. Harvest Supper times are every half-hour from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
An Illuminated Evening on an Island in the Ohio River
Board the Island Belle Sternwheeler and experience a journey back to the year 1805 where Mr. and Mrs. Blennerhassett have planned a grand party for all their guests. 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.
The Candlelight tour gives visitors an opportunity to visit Blennerhassett Island’s recreated and exciting social life of 200 years ago. No electricity is allowed on these evenings.
Visitors can watch costumed re-enactors and listen to period music played on a hammered dulcimer and other stringed instruments while dancers perform and card players enjoy a lively game.
“The event represents an era that many of our ancestors might have experienced,” said Blennerhassett Island Event Coordinator Pam Salisbury. “Blennerhassett Island takes on a new persona as the sun goes down and the candlelight from the hundreds of lanterns begins to illuminate the graveled paths directing sternwheeler passengers to the candlelit mansion, the servant’s party, harvest supper, gift shop and other activities. The island is absolutely beautiful and individuals attending Mansion by Candlelight will feel like they have stepped back 200 years in time.”
A picnic-style harvest supper at the island shelter will feature Tavern ham, seasoned potatoes, green beans, coleslaw, rolls, pineapple upside-down cake, and a beverage. Harvest supper tickets are limited and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. The concession stand will also be open each evening.
Horse-drawn wagon rides by the Hardly Able Carriage Company go around the upper half of the island. A bonfire is the site for a spirited party. At the servants’ party, the music is bluegrass. The West Virginia Mountain Pride dancers will be performing lively dances at the bonfire setting. In addition, Galen Smith, a local actor, will share spine-tingling ghost stories of local folklore, and the Stillwell 4-H will be preparing homemade apple butter.
To learn more about Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park, activities, events and hours, visit www.blennerhassettislandstatepark.com
Matt Baker or Pam Salisbury