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New holiday festival hopes to set tradition

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POSTED: November 29, 2010 8:46 a.m.

Even with Christmas decorations and carols filling stores, it is hard to believe the holiday is less than a month away.
There may not be any snow on the ground, but by looking around, from the tinsel covered shop windows to the strings of lights on roofs throughout the county, one can tell that it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Liberty County.
And there are plenty of festivities to entertain those in the holiday spirit.
Dunham Farms will usher in the Christmas season and establish a new family tradition by hosting its first ever Holiday Festival of Lights and Music from 3:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, and again on Saturday, Dec. 11.
The farm is a 30-acre estate with stunning marsh views and gardens. The property is a 20- minute car ride east of Hinesville in Sunbury, and a 30-minute drive south of Savannah, six miles east of I-95 Exit 76, the Midway-Sunbury exit. 
The festival will feature a unique blend of traditional country delights — hay rides and square dancing — with sophisticated entertainment, including a special lute concert and performances by the Ben Tucker Trio. The festival promises something for everyone: guided tours of the property’s historic buildings, three complete model railroad displays, courtesy of the Middle Georgia Model Railroad Club in Macon, Christmas carols, food, and centuries old moss-dappled oaks decorated with thousands of lights. Admission is $10 with discounts available for students, seniors and children.
“Everyone needs an infusion of joy, music, and beauty in their lives – especially these days – and what better time than the holidays?,” said Laura Devendorf, whose family has owned the land surrounding Dunham Farms since 1755, when it was granted by King George II.
The house has never been opened to the public and four trees in the house will be decorated with various bulbs and lights, including moving butterflies.
Only three tours will be given each day, with a maximum capacity for 240 guests during the festival.
Special tickets are required for the plantation hayride and the plantation house tour and lute concert. Dinner will be served from 6-8 p.m. and snacks, hot dogs, candy and hot/cold beverages will be provided throughout the evening.
Proceeds will be donated to the Seabrook Village, a neighboring African-American living history museum.
“The Seabrook community was established through federal land grants made possible by Gen. William T. Sherman’s “40-acres-and-a-mule” policy. Freed men settled as landowners on the same lands they had once worked as slaves. Armed with little but their newly found freedom, a plot of land, and the determination to build a brighter future, the freed men of Seabrook represent the African-American pioneer experience,” according to the Dunham Farms website.
“It will be fun and satisfying and very, very different,” promises Devendorf.

 

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