From Dr. Seuss’ “Whoville” to Santa and his elves, guests at this year’s Holidays in the Mansion event will visit a variety of holiday-themed scenarios as they make their way through the historic Henry S. Durand Mansion, 1012 Main St.

Billed as “Nine days of family fun and festivities hosted by Racine’s Masonic family,” Holidays in the Mansion offers everything from festively decorated rooms to games, activities, food and more. And the 2012 edition has a few new tricks up its red-and-white-trimmed sleeve.

This year, each of its three weekends will have a different focus in an effort to bring awareness to various causes, explained Wendy Spencer, event coordinator for the Racine Masonic Center. The first will be Shriners Weekend and will highlight the work of Shriners Hospitals in providing health care to children across the country.

Shriners clowns and animal characters will be present, and a Shriners miniature car and motorcycle will be on display in the building, according to Scott McClelland, president of the Masonic Center Association. And Christmas stockings hung from fireplaces throughout the mansion will be raffled to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.

“We hope it will help people to understand why we (the Masonic family) support the Shriners,” Spencer said.

Racine’s Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization will be the focus of the third weekend, and guests can subtract $1 from their admission price if they bring two nonperishable food items or personal hygiene products to donate to the shelter. “It is our way of continuing the relationship we already have with HALO through the Empty Bowls event, and bringing a little more attention to what they do,” Spencer said.

In between, Holidays in the Mansion will host a vendors’ weekend, during which a variety of craft and product vendors will show their wares in the mansion’s ballroom. And throughout the three-week run there will also be a Kid Zone game and activity area; the Candy Cane Cafe, offering pulled pork sandwiches, soup, macaroni and cheese and other kid-friendly foods; and close to 50 theme-decorated Christmas trees.

Also added to this year’s event are behind-the-scenes tours, offered to anyone attending Holidays in the Mansion at 5:30 p.m. on Fridays or Saturdays. The tours will be led by “Mr. and Mrs. Durand,” who will provide historical information about the mansion and take guests into rooms and spaces that are usually roped off to visitors, according to Spencer.

“You’ll get to see four stories of the mansion, all the way up to the cupola,” she said.

Decorations throughout the mansion are being done by community volunteers, including interior decorators and florists. And, this year organizers are offering separate weekday tours for groups such as nursing home residents, McClelland said. Luncheons are available with the group tours, he said, and reservations can be made by calling the Masonic Center.

There are also several special events being offered in conjunction with Holidays in the Mansion, for people of all ages. See the accompanying box details.

If You Go

WHAT: Holidays in the Mansion: An Olde Fashioned Christmas

WHEN: Three weekends, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Dec. 7-9 and Dec. 14-16. Hours for the mansion and exhibits are noon to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 5 p.m. on Dec. 2 and 16; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Dec. 9. See separate list for special event dates and times.

WHERE: Racine Masonic Center, 1012 Main St.

COST: Admission to the mansion and exhibits is $5 for adults and $3 for children (ages 3-12).

INFO: Go to or call (262) 308-6840.

Special ticketed events

• Royal Tea Party, 3 to 5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 24. For children younger than 10, accompanied by an adult. Princes and princesses will be on hand and guests are invited to come dressed as their favorite prince or princess. Along with “tea” and treats, the event will feature a tour of the mansion, a craft project and a special story. Cost is $8 per person and reservations are required.

• Breakfast with Santa, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays Nov. 25 and Dec. 9. Visit with Santa and enjoy the Holidays in the Mansion displays — and feast on a breakfast of pancakes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, sausage or bacon, scrambled eggs, juice, milk and coffee. Cost is $8 for adults and $4 for children (12 and younger).

• Wine & Beer Tasting, 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 14. Stroll through the historic Durand Mansion and sample wines from around the world and beers from the Great Lakes region. Must be 21 or older to attend. Cost is $30 per person or $50 per couple (commemorative glass included).

All of the above events take place at the Racine Masonic Center, 1012 Main St. For more information and reservations call (262) 308-6840.


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