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First Lady Susan Corbett Invites Visitors to enjoy "Pennsylvania's Holiday Traditions" at the Governor's Residence

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Pennsylvania's Holiday Traditions" will welcome visitors to the Governor's Residence this holiday season, First Lady Susan Corbett announced today. The annual holiday tours are free and open to the public.

"The Governor's Residence is especially beautiful this time of year and the governor and I are happy we can share it with the people of Pennsylvania," Susan Corbett said. "Pennsylvania has a rich heritage from all over the world, so we chose "Pennsylvania Holiday Traditions" to pay tribute to the many cultures that make up the commonwealth."

Christmas trees donated by the Pennsylvania Christmas Tree Growers Association adorn the building's public areas. Each tree has a specific theme recognizing the diverse heritage of Pennsylvania.  

Each tree also has two Airedale Terrier ornaments in honor of Penny and Harry, the Corbetts' dogs. The ornaments are hidden on the trees so that children and adults can try to find them.

A train display around the tree in the State Reception Room depicts a winter village scene, complete with an operating skier's gondola that moves up the mountain. The display is on loan from the Railroad Museum of PA, the commonwealth's official railroad museum.

A menorah in recognition of Hanukkah will be on display in the State Reception Room. A candle will be lit each night of the Jewish holiday beginning Dec. 8.

The Residence, located at 2035 N. Front St. in Harrisburg will be open for holiday tours from noon to 2 p.m. on Dec. 3, 4, 5, 10, 11 and 12. 

A holiday open house will be held from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 9. The event will feature musical entertainment by local artists. The open house is part of Historic Harrisburg Association's annual Candlelight House Tour. 

Visitors will have an opportunity to sign holiday cards to send to members of the military, veterans and their families as part of the American Red Cross "Holiday Mail for Heroes" program. Cards will be available at the tours and will be sent to troops overseas and to VA medical centers throughout the state.

There is no cost to attend the holiday tours or open house and reservations are not required. No cameras, large bags, purses or totes are permitted.

The holiday tour season is also the last opportunity that the public will have to see the "Violet Oakley and the Women Artists of Paris" art exhibit on display in the Governor's Residence.  The exhibit, on loan from the Woodmere Museum in Philadelphia, features 20 works of art by Violet Oakley, Mary Cassatt, Berthe Morisot and other influential female artists who studied in Paris during the late 1800s.

For more information, contact the Residence tour line at 717-772-9130. Learn more about the Governor's Residence online at www.pa.gov. Select the links for "Office of the First Lady," then "The Governor's Residence."

Media contacts:

Kirsten Page, Governor's Office; 717-783-1116

Ashley Chunko, First Lady's Office; 717-787-1965

Editor's Note: The Governor's Residence 2012 Christmas tree themes follows:

German Traditions – Located in the Grand Hall Entrance, this tree pays tribute to the first Christmas trees. The earliest written record of fully decorated Christmas trees dates back to 1605 in Strasbourg, Germany. Old World Germans decorated their tree with stars, angels, toys, gilded nuts and candies wrapped in bright paper. Pennsylvania Germans added the Moravian Star.   

Slovak Traditions – This tree, located in the Erie Room, honors the traditional Slovak household where trees were decorated with apples to commemorate the forbidden fruit – the apple of paradise. Today, trees are adorned with embossed wax eggs, candles or lights and home-made foil chains. Some families throw walnuts into the corners of every room to ensure good luck for the coming year.

Irish Traditions – The Governor's Library tree showcases Irish traditions. In old Ireland, the locals would have travelled into the countryside and picked holly to place behind pictures on the walls, along the mantle shelves over the fireplace and behind the plates on the dresser.  Sometimes they would hang a bunch of mistletoe by the door.  Holly and the traditional Irish green are the inspirations for this beautiful tree.

Italian Traditions – Located in the Family Dining Room, this tree honors Italian Holiday Traditions. The colors of Italy's flag – red, green and white - are the inspiration for the tree and Venetian glass ornaments made in Murano, Italy adorn the branches.  A Nativity, or crech, is also located in the room. The Nativity is the focus of Italian holiday traditions.

Hispanic-Latino Traditions – The traditional Christmas flower, Poinsettias from Mexico, can be seen throughout the Mellon Parlor. Hispanic-Latino decorations on the tree include ornaments that are widely recognized for their beautifully handcrafted style. The festive theme includes bright colors of pink, teal, red, green, yellow and orange.  

African Traditions – During the Christmas season, the meaningful African-American holiday Kwanzaa is celebrated. Rich in tradition and symbolism, Kwanzaa is based on the traditional African festival of the harvest of the first crops. The tree is located in the State Entrance. Kwanzaa decorations combine African practices with African-American hopes and ideals.

International – The International Tree, located in the State Reception Room, celebrates the rich ethnic diversity of Pennsylvania. The tree features flags from 162 countries and ornaments from India and Asia. Students from Good Shepherd School in Camp Hill made the ornaments representing holiday traditions in their own families.

English Traditions – The First Lady's Office pays tribute to British tradition, where it was custom to decorate the house with evergreens. The Christmas tree did not become popular until the 19th century when Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert introduced the custom from Germany. The first commercially produced Christmas cards were created in London.

SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

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