A Victorian Christmas – Korner’s Folly

By Suzanna Ritz

Kernersville’s iconic landmark Körner’s Folly, a 5,600 square-foot architectural wonderland, rises whimsically over Kernersville’s South Main Street. Passersby slow down as they approach, noting the Gothic peaks and unusual shapes of this historic house.

Körner’s Folly, already known far and wide for its maze-like construction, adds another dimension of wonderment with its annual Victorian Christmas celebration. All twenty-two rooms of the elaborately ornamented circa 1880 house, originally designed to serve as visionary interior designer Jule Körner’s studio and showroom, are decorated each year by local volunteers.

These dedicated decorators offer their skills as a gift to the community, delighting in filling the Folly’s seven different levels with wreaths, garlands, lights, trees, beautiful ornaments, and exquisitely wrapped gifts. In the elegant Reception Room, a stunning twelve-foot tree offers a feast for the senses. Each year, a different theme is selected to offer a new vision – this year, decorators will present their interpretations of A Gilded Christmas, embracing sparkle and shine as well as the technological innovations of the Gilded Age. From November 29 through January 4, visitors to Körner’s Folly can enjoy these magical visions of a bygone era.

Young visitors, as well as the young at heart, will especially enjoy opportunities to meet Santa Claus at Körner’s Folly. On December 6 and 13 at 6 p.m., and on December 7 at 10 a.m., the public is invited to a production of “The Night before Christmas at Körner’s Folly” in Cupid’s Park Theatre on the 3rd floor of the house. This holiday puppet show features members of the Körner Family as well as Old St. Nick, after which Santa will be available for Christmas wishes and photo opportunities. Tickets are available online and advance purchase is strongly recommended.

Christmas by Candlelight, the Folly’s exclusive evening tour events, are sure to spark a feeling of enchantment as the spectacular decorations shine and the house glows from within. Costumed guides from Kernersville Little Theatre will be stationed throughout the house receiving visitors as well as caroling and reading from Clement C. Moore’s poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.” Candlelight events will be held on December 7 and 21, from 5 – 9 p.m. Tickets are available online and onsite.

Whether visiting during the day or for a special event, the Körner’s Folly gift shop makes an excellent addition to the holiday experience. Packed with souvenirs, Victorian-inspired gifts, and Christmas ornaments, the shop is sure to provide the perfect gift for that special someone.

It was during the Victorian period that families first began to celebrate holiday traditions that have stood the test of time, including trimming the tree, decking the halls, stuffing stockings, and creating Christmas cards to send to loved ones. The staff and volunteers of Körner’s Folly invite the community to start or continue their own traditions with a visit this holiday season: “We hope to surprise visitors with our dedication to creating beautifully-decorated rooms they can wander through, slowing down during this hectic season to appreciate the experiences that bring us closer together,” says Executive Director Dale Pennington. “We invite everyone to find their favorite spot in the house, vote for their favorite decorations, and perhaps enjoy some hot cider and cookies during our Candlelight events.”

A Kernersville Yuletide on December 14 is a wonderful opportunity to visit historic downtown Kernersville, when three local cultural organizations will band together to celebrate Christmas. Körner’s Folly will be open for holiday tours, the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden will present attractive finds for holiday shoppers, and the Kernersville Museum will once again offer ice-skating on their outdoor rink–perfect for a day trip for families and courting couples alike!

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