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Mansion by Candlelight begins Friday

The Blennerhassett Mansion will be open to visitors for a rare evening visit Friday and Saturday on Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park for the annual Mansion by Candlelight event. (File Photo)

PARKERSBURG — The annual “Blennerhassett Island by Night — The Mansion by Candlelight” will be held Friday and Saturday at Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park.

Visitors will have the chance to step back in time to experience an autumn celebration as it might once have been done in the years when it served as the residence of Harman and Margaret Blennerhassett.

Harman Blennerhassett was a wealthy Irish aristocrat who settled on the wilderness island near what later became Parkersburg in 1789 with his wife, Margaret. The original mansion was completed in 1800. The current mansion is a replica built in the 1970s, but includes many period and original pieces.

This year’s “Mansion by Candlelight” will be Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the boat ride, wagon ride and special mansion tour are $35 for adults and $25 for children ages 3-12.

Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 304-420-4800 or visiting the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History at Second and Juliana streets in downtown Parkersburg. Information is also available online at wvstateparks.com.

Instead of the normal docking point at Point Park in Parkersburg, visitors will board the Island Belle at Civitan Park in Belpre. The event will be held rain or shine and tickets are non-refundable.

Boats will depart to Blennerhassett Island at 6, 6:30, 7, 7:30 and 8 p.m. and will return to Belpre at 8:30, 9, 9:30, 10 and 10:30 p.m.

Any unsold boat and mansion tickets will be available each evening at the Blennerhassett Museum.

Wagon rides will be available, weather permitting. The island gift shop will be open and offering its regular items. The concession stand will also be open each evening and offers a variety of foods and drink.

In addition, a harvest supper will be held both nights. Tickets for the harvest supper are separate from the boat ride and mansion tour and are $15 a person. Reservations were required. The harvest supper will be offered at 6:15, 6:45, 7:15, 7:45 and 8:15 p.m. both evenings.

The Mansion by Candlelight Tour, sponsored by the Friends of Blennerhassett, began in 1996 and has become an annual event, organizers said. As visitors board the sternwheeler at Civitan Park, they begin their journey back to the year 1805 and become cast in the role of guests at Margaret and Harman Blennerhassett’s island home and estate.

While daylight tours of the Blennerhassett Mansion are available throughout the summer, only a few glimpses are offered of the restored mansion after dark each year. It will be lit by candlelight and decorated in neoclassical style with flowers and greenery, Salisbury said.

Docents in period dress will welcome visitors, who will be able to watch dances and gentlemen playing cards and a fortune-teller tent. There will also be performances featuring recorders, a hammered dulcimer, and chamber music. The servants party will feature a bonfire, dancing, music, apple butter making by a local youth group and storytelling.

Wayne Towner can be reached at wtowner@newsandsentinel.com

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