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Historic Dayton House getting decked out for the holidays

The Historic Dayton House.1 / 2
Just as last year, the Dayton House will soon be decked out for the holidays. (Special to The Globe)2 / 2

WORTHINGTON — The Historic Dayton House is having its halls all decked out for a variety of upcoming holiday festivities.

As has become an annual holiday kickoff tradition, a variety of vendors are slated to line the house Nov. 8 for the Holiday Extravaganza. Guests may shop, socialize and drink spirits in come and go fashion from 4 to 8 p.m. A free gift will be given to the first 100 guests.

However, as a new spin on the traditional event, there’s something special for those who attend later in the evening as well.  

“For the first time this year we’re doing a holiday happy hour,” Historic Dayton House Manager Gretchen Scheidt said of the hour from 7 to 8 p.m. “Many of our vendors are going to be offering some discounts, deals and drawings.”

According to Scheidt, booking of this year’s 22 vendor slots filled up within less than a week of the initial request. Given the variety of vendors — from apparel and accessories, self-care and beauty, jewelry, holiday decor, artwork and food — there’s something for everyone, she said.    

“We’ve got quite a few repeat vendors and quite a few new ones,” she said, adding that select vendors are coming from as far away as the Twin Cities, Sioux Falls, S.D. and northwest Iowa.

Scheidt called the annual event not only a great fundraiser to directly support and sustain the house, but also an opportunity to promote the community and showcase the house to first-time visitors.

“It’s a perfect opportunity for those curious what the house is to check it out for a reasonable price and get some holiday shopping done,” she said.  

Advanced tickets may be purchased for a discounted price through noon Nov. 7 at Brown’s Shoe Fit, The Daily Apple and Hy-Vee in Worthington and the Beach House in Sibley, Iowa. Tickets may also be purchased at the door that night.

The Holiday Extravaganza event is just one of several that will allow guests to witness the house in all of its festive glory.

A Nov. 16 Historic Happy Hour sponsored by United Prairie Bank will be the next scheduled opportunity to get inside the mansion before the new year.

From 5 to 7 p.m., appetizers catered by The Beach House, cash bar spirits and special piano music by Jay Tripp will be served to cater what Scheidt expects to be a “nice little holiday-themed happy hour.”

Guests are encouraged to bring and donate items to the Community Christmas Basket, and will have the opportunity to redeem each item for a ticket to be placed in a drawing for a chance to win a free night stay at the Historic Dayton House.

Holiday festivities at the Dayton House will continue Dec. 9 for a first-ever ugly sweater holiday party. From 5:30 until 8 p.m, guests are invited to wear the ugliest holiday sweater they can find for what Scheidt called a night of food, festivities and fun.

The evening will include prizes for the ugliest sweater, a raffle, a chance at either a gag or golden gift, food, holiday music and a keg.

Scheidt said the ugly holiday sweater party is in an effort to engage and appeal to a younger generation.

“Whenever we have events at the house I see a lot of the same faces, and there’s so many younger people in Worthington that don’t attend these,” Scheidt said. “Sometimes there’s a stigma with the house — that it’s stuffy and fancy — but it doesn’t have to be.”

Scheidt may be reached at (605) 400-1030 or to purchase tickets for the ugly sweater holiday party or to book a private holiday party.