The Batesville Herald-Tribune
---- — One Hoosier city, one mansion and two attractions offer merry activities for residents and tourists alike.
• Madison’s Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour, sponsored by Visit Madison Inc., is slated for Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 6-7. Attendees will celebrate the season while touring public sites and historic private homes Fridays from 5-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 3-9 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for adults and $5 for children. Info: 800-559-2956, www.nightsbeforechristmas.com or visitmadison.org.
Dec. 7 is a blockbuster day in the river city. The Very Merry Madison Christmas Parade begins at 10 a.m. at Main and Jefferson streets and ends at Main and Mill streets. A free showing of the movie “The Polar Express” will follow the procession at the Ohio Theatre, 105 E. Main St.
A Christmas Craft Fair is scheduled that day from 9 .am.-3 p.m. in Brown Gym. Info: 812-265-4758.
Advance reservations are required for the Santa Express, which will depart from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on the hour from Venture Out Business Center, 975 Industrial Dr. The cost is $3 per person. Before or after, children can have fun at Santa’s Workshop there during the same hours. Reservations: 812-273-6510.
• The beautiful Hillforest mansion, 213 5th St., Aurora, is decorated in Victorian splendor for the holidays through Dec. 29 and offers an exhibit and two events.
“A Century of Toys” exhibit can be viewed Tuesday-Sunday from 1-5 p.m. (closed Dec. 24-25). A Dec. 7 Hillforest Holiday Open House will boast costumed docents, refreshments and entertainment at no extra charge.
Persons who attend the Dec. 10 Victorian Christmas Tea Time will take a 1 p.m. tour, then enjoy a festive three-course meal in the Hillforest parlors featuring delicious seasonal treats and flavored tea. Reservations at $25 are required: www.hillforest.org or 812-926-0087.
• Families who visit “Jingle Rails: The Great Western Adventure,” presented by Indiana Railroad Co., at the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, White River State Park, 500 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, will experience the palatial snow-capped mountains of an 8-feet-high Aspen, Colo., ski resort. They will also get to see a replica of the Indy-based N.K. Hurst building, a family-owned bean distributor that’s been a downtown staple since 1938.
The Hurst and Aspen scenes will be welcome additions to the locomotive wonderland that takes visitors on a journey from Indianapolis landmarks, like the Soldiers and Sailors Monument and Indiana State Fair Ferris wheel, to the Great American West. Visitors will see Old Faithful’s geysers going off and giant cascading waterfalls. Every piece of the exhibit will be produced by Paul Busse and his company, Alexandria, Ky.-based Applied Imagination. Busse’s inventive holiday creations are also seen in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Additional highlights of Jingle Rails include eight ultra-sized G-scale/gauge model trains, 13 overhead walk-under bridges, Lucas Oil Stadium, Mount Rushmore and the Grand Canyon. Info: 317-636-WEST (9378) or www.eiteljorg.org.
• The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site, 1230 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, is decorated for the holidays.
Through Dec. 31, The First Ladies Fir, Pine & Spruce exhibit showcases images of the official White House Christmas trees from the days of Jacqueline Kennedy to Michelle Obama. Ornaments from the Lyndon B. Johnson and George W. Bush administrations will also be featured.
The site is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. It also will be open Sunday, Dec. 8, from 12:30-3:30 p.m. The house is closed Dec. 24-25 Tours are on the hour and half-hour, and last about 1 hour and 15 minutes. On regular tour days, the last tour begins at 3:30 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $5 for students 5-17 and college students with IDs.
LIVE: Family Christmas at the President’s Home is slated for Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at a higher charge of $14 for adults and $6 for students. A Candlelight Evening on Delaware Street, an $80 fundraising dinner and tour, takes place Friday, Dec. 27, from 5:30-9:30 p.m.
Info: http://bhpsite.org or 317-631-1888.