Liberty Hall Host Annual Christmas Tea
Gary Rees on December 07, 2023
(Pictured: Graceland University student Hannah Marshall and Director of Intercultural Office Dianna Jones hosting Christmas teas for youngsters at last year’s tea.)
Liberty Hall's annual Christmas tea brings its special sparkle to the Lamoni community's 2023 holiday season on Sunday, December 10th from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. The tea is free and open to the public.
Liberty Hall volunteers have decorated the historic site with festive garlands and adornments of the season for the occasion offering a glimpse into Christmas past of this nineteenth-century historic site. Delicious appetizers, desserts, and punch will be served.
Liberty Hall was built in 1881 and Joseph Smith III's family lived there until moving to Independence, Missouri in 1906. Following that, the house was used as a Home for the Aged, a dairy farm, a Civil Conservation Corps headquarters, and a home for several different families. For a few years, it stood vacant. In 1973, Liberty Hall underwent a restoration process to renovate, as nearly as possible, what the home was like when the Smith family lived there in the early 1900’s. The restoration process took 10 years. Shortly after completion, the first Christmas Tea was held and has been an annual event since that time.
Visitors are invited to tour Liberty Hall – a long standing holiday tradition. Guides in every room highlight historical features and tell stories about the house, Joseph Smith, and Smith’s family. “Guests can enjoy the family room, bedrooms, research library, and heritage room while walking through the home,” Site Coordinator Steve Smith said.
In a delightful blend of sound from piano jazz to saxophone, musicians are set to display their talents during the afternoon tea. Jack Ergo opens the entertainment with piano jazz at 2:00 p.m. and is soon joined by a vocalist. As the afternoon unfolds, the spotlight will shift to other talented musicians. Cassie Tucker is featured on the viola followed by Jolia Poltorak on the cello with Ergo on the harmonium. Later Niko Farrell can be heard on the saxophone. Caitlin Grover plays the violin to conclude the afternoon’s enjoyment. The Men’s Vocal Group from Bloomington will also be showcased.
In addition, special activities are scheduled for young people from preschool to high school. The children’s highlight is a very English High Tea led by Hannah Marshall, a Graceland student from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England, who explains this English custom, and Diana Jones, Graceland University’s Director of Intercultural Office. Teas are upstairs and are half an hour in length. They will be held by age groups beginning with Preschool - 4th grade at 2:00 p.m. followed by 5th - 8th graders at 2:30 p.m. and at 3:30 p.m. for High School Students. All youths will also enjoy Victorian crafts and a scavenger hunt for Liberty Hall artifacts during the afternoon.
“Except for the COVID years, we’ve enjoyed welcoming the community to the Liberty Hall Christmas Tea for over 40 years,” Smith said. “I’m sure Joseph Smith III is smiling somewhere knowing that his home is still a place of celebration.”