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Fill your holidays with the Wright kind of cheer

Dana-Thomas House opens its doors for the holidays with evening tours, children's activities and more

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[December 07, 2013]  SPRINGFIELD The Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site is decking the halls with new decorations and spreading holiday cheer with music, poetry, children's activities and even a holiday-themed writing workshop.

In keeping with architect Frank Lloyd Wright's artistic vision, the Dana-Thomas House is being decorated with floral designs featuring native plants and flowers in warm earth tones. Volunteers with the Springfield Civic Garden Club are designing arrangements throughout the historic site, using more than 20 different prairie plants, including magnolia, sumac and curly willow, all presented in Wright-designed vases. The expertly designed floral arrangements are available for sale through the Sumac Shop, where proceeds will be directed toward site programs.

Area youth can help decorate Christmas trees in the library of the historic home by participating in Lego ornament workshops on Dec. 8 and 15 with Kyle Blais, Iles School Lego League coach.

The holiday season kicked off Friday with an evening reception including music, delicious food and beverages.

Then things really get going on Saturday with a poetry reading in the afternoon and extended hours with tours in the evening.

The Dana-Thomas House will be open more evenings this holiday season than in years past: Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 22.

During the evenings of Dec. 7 and 14, samples of holiday treats from Mrs. Dana's recipe book will be available for tasting, expertly prepared by the Lincoln Land Culinary Arts program and Slow Food Springfield.

The Sumac Shop is selling jars of "Mother Lawrence's Blackberry Preserves" this holiday season. Mary Agnes Lawrence, mother of Susan Lawrence Dana, won praise from Frank Lloyd Wright for her cooking, particularly her blackberry preserves. Proceeds will fund the garden projects at the Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site by University of Illinois Master Gardeners.

Here's the full schedule of upcoming events:

Saturday, Dec. 7

  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. Midwest poetry and prose reading, in partnership with Quiddity at Benedictine University, featuring Sandy Longhorn, winner of the 2005 Anhinga Prize for Poetry.

  • 5-8 p.m. Holiday extended hours with evening tours. Tasty treats, using Susan Dana's own recipes and prepared in partnership with the Lincoln Land Community College Culinary Arts baking and pastry program and Slow Food Springfield, will be given away in the kitchen.

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Sunday, Dec. 8

  • 1-1:45 p.m. Free children's Lego workshop with Kyle Blais, Iles School Lego League coach.

  • 2-4 p.m. Writing workshop, "Facing Fear in Your Fiction," with Ted Morrissey, sponsored by the Vachel Lindsay Association.

Friday, Dec. 13

  • 10 a.m.-noon "Wright Concepts" specialty tour. $20 suggested donation per person.

  • 2-3 p.m. Kevin Purcell performs "A Child's Christmas in Wales."

Saturday, Dec. 14

  • 5-8 p.m. Holiday extended hours with evening tours. Tasty treats will be given away in the kitchen.

Sunday, Dec. 15

  • 1-1:45 p.m. Free children's Lego workshop with Kyle Blais, Iles School Lego League coach.

  • 2-4 p.m. Writing workshop, "Bad Fruitcake, Burnt Turkey, Good Stories: Writing the Holidays," with Megan Cass, sponsored by the Vachel Lindsay Association.

Saturday, Dec. 21

  • 5-8 p.m. Extended hours with evening tours and luminarias.

Sunday, Dec. 22

  • 5-8 p.m. Extended hours with evening tours and luminarias.

___

The Dana-Thomas House was built between 1902 and 1904. It is perhaps the best-preserved of Wright's Prairie-style homes, with more than 400 pieces of specially made art glass and original furnishings. The house, at Fourth and Lawrence streets in Springfield, is operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. It is open Wednesday through Sunday for public tours.

For more information, visit www.dana-thomas.org.

[Text from file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

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