The Red Velvet Cake War

Jefferson is very fortunate to have four, diverse and talented theater groups in town. How many cities in America can boast that they have one theater group for every 500 people? The 2012 Jefferson Theater Season kicks off this Saturday with the Red Velvet Cake War.


The Red Velvet Cake War, a comedy written by Nicholas Hope, Jamie Wooten and Jessie Jones, will be produced by the Sanctuary Players and directed by Sara Whitaker. Show times at the First United Methodist Church are; March 3rd at 3:00 PM and March 4th at 2:00 PM. The play continues the following weekend with shows on March 10th at 2:00 and 7:30 PM and on March 11th at 2:00 PM.
Here is the Red Velvet Cake War synopsis, from the Sanctuary Players website;
This is a riotously funny Southern-fried comedy. Three cousins, Gaynelle, Peaches, and Jimmie Wyvette, picked the very worst time for their family reunion. Their outrageous antics have become a delicious scandal the small town of Sweetgum and the eyes of Texas are upon them. Having “accidentally” driven her minivan through the bedroom of her husband’s girlfriend’s doublewide, Gaynelle is facing a spectacular meltdown. Peaches, the saucy number one mortuarial cosmetologist in the tri-county area, is struggling to decide if it’s time to have her long-absent trucker husband declared dead. And Jimmie Wyvette, the roughhewn store manager of Whatley’s Western Wear, is resorting to extreme measures to outmaneuver a priss-pot neighbor for the affections of Sweetgum’s newest widower. But the cousins can’t back out of the reunion now. Gaynelle is hosting it. Peaches and Jimmie Wyvette decide its success will prove Gaynelle’s sanity to a court-appointed psychologist. They face an uphill battle as wildly eccentric family members gather in the heat of July, fearing an impending Texas tornado. A shocking high-stakes wager is made on who bakes the best red velvet cake. As this fast-paced uproarious romp barrels toward its surprising climax, you’ll wish your own family reunion was this much fun!
The First United Methodist Church is located at 305 W Henderson Street. Advance tickets can be purchased at Fashion & Art Revival (115 E Austin), Roy’s Toys and Trains (114 N Walnut) or online at http://www.SanctuaryPlayers.org. For more information call 847-722-8798

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(Mis)adventures in Agri-Tourism

Recently I’ve been researching agri-tourism and the benefits it could bring to Jefferson. A farmer’s market, wine tastings, bird watching, hay rides, corn mazes and fishing are all visitor friendly. I did not consider the potential misadventures involved with agri-tourism.

The first story I, about misadventures in agri-tourism, concerned a Danvers, Massachusetts family. The family, enjoying a fall festival corn maze, got lost and had to call 911 to be rescued.

The second story was about a couple who traveled to an apple orchard in Stowe, Massachusetts. The orchard was a “you pick” apple orchard. The couple became disoriented and had to call the police for assistance.

I don’t think either of these stories will prevent us from pursuing agri-tourism in Jefferson, Texas.

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Jefferson, Texas- There’s Always Something Going On

Jefferson, Texas is known for it’s big events such as Mardi Gras, Spring Pilgrimage, 4th of July Celebration, Boo Run Biker Rally and the Candlelight Tour of Homes. However when there is not a big event going on, there’s always something going on in Jefferson.
Tour one of the many historic homes in Jefferson. The Alley-McKay House, Culberson House, Delta Street Inn, The Excelsior, House of the Seasons, Scarlett O’Hardy’s, The Virginia Cross and the Charles House are all available, by appointment, for tours.
Did you know Jefferson has five museums? The Jefferson Historical Museum has four floors of historic artifacts. Also view vintage automobiles at the Lafayette Street Vintage Car Museum. The Mason Dixon Line Military Museum has one of the largest Civil War artifact collections in the region. While Scarlett O’Hardy’s Gone With the Wind Museum has one of the largest private Gone With the Wind collections in the United States. Finish your Jefferson museum tour with a visit to the Museum of Measurement and Time, an intriguing look at clocks, historical surveying tools and historic maps.
If you’re interested in things that “go bump in the night”, Jefferson is one of the most haunted cities in Texas. Visit The Grove and take a tour of the most haunted house in Jefferson. On Friday and Saturday go on the Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk and learn all about Jefferson’s haunts & legends.
Jefferson is easily toured by walking but there also other options for touring Jefferson. The Lone Star Carriage Company offers horse drawn carriage tours or go on the Jefferson Mule Drawn Wagon Tour. Rent a bike at Pedal Power and take a spin around Jefferson’s historic neighborhoods. Jefferson also is home to an authentic narrow gauge steam train, ride the Historic Jefferson Railway and take in the unique landscape of Big Cypress Bayou and East Texas.
Jefferson is also home to four live theater groups, which showcase local talent. The Opera House Theatre Players, The Sanctuary Players, The Excelsior House Players and the Glory Dayz Players offer unique productions throughout the year.
So, if you miss one of Jefferson’s big marquee events, don’t worry. There’s always something going on in Jefferson! For more information about these events and attractions visit http://www.visitjeffersontexas.com or call the Tourism Office at 903-665-3733.

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Jefferson’s Historic Architecture

Jefferson, Texas is one of the most historically preserved towns in the state of Texas. It is truly astonishing that a town of just over 2,000 people has a 47 block area that contains 56 homes and buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are also over 10 other structures in Jefferson that have been placed on the National Register. The structures in Jefferson represent many historic architecture styles including Greek Revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Victorian Eclectic and Gothic.

One of the most common architectural styles seen in Jefferson is Greek Revival. Greek Revival was a popular style in North America from the late 1700’s to the Civil War. One theory holds that the Greek Revival Style was so popular in America because a young democracy was in search of its identity. Greek Revival structures are easily identified by their square or white pillars, square head openings for doors and windows and their symmetrical construction. Two examples of Greek Revival homes in Jefferson are the Guarding Oak (at 301 S. Friou) and the Homestead (at 410 Delta).

Italianate Architecture became popular in the late 1800’s. It is recognized by its tall narrow windows with arches at the top, cupolas at the top of the house, low pitched roofs, overhanging eaves, wraparound porches and decorative elements under the cornice.

The House of the Seasons (at 409 S. Alley) is an example of home that shows the transition from Greek Revival to Italianate. Built in 1872, it contains the columns and symmetry of Greek Revival, along with the square windows on the first floor. The Italianate influence is seen in the long windows, rounded at the top, the cupola, the decorative elements at the home’s carriage house and the low pitched roof of the house.

 

 

The Queen Anne style of architecture became popular at the turn of the century (1900). The most dominant, recognizable feature of a Queen Anne home is the round or square tower. They are also recognized by their asymmetrical construction, roofs that are steeply pitched and irregularly shaped, decorative elements and bold, rich paint colors. One of the best examples, of the Queen Anne style, in Jefferson is the Benefield House (at 1009 S. Line Street).

Victorian Eclectic homes became popular, in Texas, from 1900 to 1910. Victorian Eclectic is not necessarily a distinctive style but a reflection of an era. Victorian Eclectic contains a mixture of many styles that may include Greek Revival, Italianate, Eastlake, Gothic and Queen Anne. White Oak Manor (at 502 Benners) is an example of Victorian Eclectic; with elements of Greek Revival, Italianate, Eastlake and Queen Anne.

 

Gothic architecture became popular in the mid 1800’s. Gothic architecture is recognized by pointed arch windows, stained glass windows, steeply pitched roofs, gothic arches and a gothic window located above the entrance. Cumberland Presbyterian Church (at 501 Jefferson Street) is one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in the state of Texas.

Jefferson was unfortunately left out of the great post Word War II economic boom in the United States. However the good fortune of this is that Jefferson did not fall victim to the “Urban Renewal” of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Many cities lost their historic homes and buildings to subdivisions, strip malls and bad architecture, while Jefferson held on to her architectural treasures.

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year! From Jefferson, Texas

Hopefully everyone had an enjoyable, festive Christmas Holiday. Jefferson, Texas not only celebrates Christmas in a big way, but also Mardi Gras, The 4th of July and New Year’s Eve.

On New Year’s Eve Weekend, in Jefferson you can ride a historic steam train, watch fireworks, dance at a new year’s eve ball, take a ghost tour or just relax.

The Historic Jefferson Railway will be running the New Year’s Train on December 30th at 7:00 and 8:00 PM and December 31st at 8:30, 9:30 and 11:30 PM. Each ride will feature noisemakers and a brilliant fireworks display. Get your tickets at http://www.jeffersonrailway.com.

Dance the night away at the Historic Jefferson Carnegie Library’s New Year’s Eve Ball. The event start at 8:30 on December 31st and continues to 12:30 AM on January 1st. Tickets are $40.00 and available at the library, 903-665-8911.

The Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk will have one tour this weekend on December 30th at 8:00 PM, with ticket sales starting at 7:30. The tour starts at the corner of Austin & Vale. For more information call 903-665-6289.

If you want to just get away and relax on New Year’s Eve Weekend, Jefferson, Texas is the perfect place. Make a reservation at one of our over thirty Bed and Breakfast Inns and enjoy the peace and quiet of this historic town. Jefferson also has two historic hotels, downtown, the Excelsior House and the Historic Jefferson Hotel.

Jefferson, Texas has something for everyone this New Year’s Weekend, come enjoy!

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Second Weekend of Christmas in Jefferson, Texas

The second weekend of Christmas in Jefferson, Texas saw even bigger crowds than last weekend. The weather was much colder but it seemed to enhance the Christmas Spirit. People formed long lines to see the Candlelight Tour of Homes and the Miracle on 34th Street Play had sold out performances. The Rail of Lights Christmas Train had to add day trains to accommodate all who wished to ride the Christmas Train.

Although this was the last weekend for the Candlelight Tour of Homes and the Miracle on 34th Street Play, there are still numerous events in Jefferson to help celebrate the Christmas Season.

Enjoy Jefferson’s Ghost of Christmas Past Home Tours on December 17, 2011.Tour Some of Jefferson’s Most Historic Homes and Visit with Residents from Jefferson’s Past such as Jeannie Epperson, Confederate Captain Joseph H. Pratt and I.E. Smith.

At the House of the Seasons (409 S Alley) you will meet young Jeannie Epperson. At Singleton’s Virginia Cross (401 N Soda) hear Civil War stories from Confederate Captain Joseph H. Pratt. I.E. Smith invites you to visit the home he built, The Charles House (209 E Clarksville). For more info contact the Jefferson Visitor Center – visitjeffersontexas@gmail.com or 903-665-3733.

While Ghosts of Christmas Past are on your mind, visit the city’s most haunted home, the Grove (405 Moseley) on Saturday and Sunday. For Reservations 903-665-8018.

On Saturday, in the downtown area look for other historic Jefferson characters such as Kate Woods, Jesse Robinson, Bill Rose and Diamond Bessie as portrayed by the Riverport Ambassadors.

The Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk gives tours on Friday and Saturday Evening when they present the Ghost of Christmas Past Tour. The walk meets at the corner of W Austin & North Vale. Ticket sales at 7:30 PM and the walk starts at 8:00 PM.

Elvis had a Blue Christmas but what about some Rockin’ Texas Blues? Catch East Texas guitar legend, Wes Jeans, at Auntie Skinner’s Saturday night at 9:00.

The Rail of Lights continues to run Thursday to Sunday (December 15th -18th). The old fashioned steam train will take you along for a ride through “Christmas Traditions Around the Globe”.

The Candlelight Tour of Homes and Miracle on 34th Street play may have come to an end but, there is still much to enjoy in Jefferson this Christmas Season.

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First Weekend of Christmas in Jefferson, Texas

The first weekend of Christmas in Jefferson, Texas was a festive occasion. The weather was nice and the crowds were large. Visitors enjoyed the Candlelight Tour of Homes, The Miracle on 34th Street Play, The Rail of Lights Christmas Train, Christmas Music Concerts and the Enchanted Forest of Christmas Trees.

 

 The 29th Candlelight Tour of Homes featured a diverse selection of homes. The homes on tour included the Elevator Townhouse, the Culberson House, the Woods-Moore Home and the Hileman-Turner Home.

 

  The play, Miracle on 34th Street, played to a packed house all weekend. The play features Jefferson’s own talented actors and actresses and is performed in the grand, historic Ruth Lester Playhouse.

 

  Hundreds of people spent time, this weekend, riding the Rail of Lights Christmas Train. The train takes visitors on a lighted journey of “Christmas Traditions Around the Globe”.

 

  Free concerts were held at the Historic Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The grand, old church was filled with traditional Christmas songs performed in a variety of styles from jazz, western swing, folk and choir.

 

 Every night Jefferson’s Lions Park comes alive with lights as people stroll through the Enchanted Forest of 100 Christmas Trees decorated byJefferson residents, businesses and civic groups.

 All of these events are on schedule for the second weekend of Christmas in Jefferson. The Candlelight Tour of Homes starts Thursday, as does the Rail of Lights Christmas Train and the free Christmas Concerts at Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The play Miracle on 34th Street has performances Friday and Saturday. The Enchanted Forest is free and open every night until the New Year. For more information contact the Tourism Office at 903-665-3733.

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