Victorian High Tea party takes guests back to the 1800s

Dressed in Victorian clothes, visitors enjoy high tea at the Reynolds Mansion on Saturday during the 35th annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas.
Dressed in Victorian clothes, visitors enjoy high tea at the Reynolds Mansion on Saturday during the 35th annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas.

The inside of the Reynolds Mansion was filled with holiday and Christmas décor, and the echo of songs sung by carolers lingered in the foyer.

About 27 people sat in a dining area Saturday afternoon drinking tea and eating lunch while being serenaded by characters from Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”

Mike and Tricia Andriaccio, who bought the Reynolds Mansion seven years ago, began hosting a Victorian High Tea party about five years ago to coincide with Bellefonte Victorian Christmas — an annual holiday event that celebrates Christmas and the history of Bellefonte.

“It’s been an insane time planning, but worth it,” Tricia Andriaccio said.

She said it took about a week for 10 people to decorate the mansion, and another week to prepare the menu.

Menu options included three teas, a savory first course and a sweet dessert second course — similar to what would be served at a tea party in the 1800s.

Tricia Andriaccio said the inspiration for the menu came from a Victorian tea book.

“It’s all in keeping with tradition,” Tricia Andriaccio said.

But the Victorian High Tea event wasn’t the only thing featured at the 35th annual Bellefonte Victorian Christmas.

Hosted by the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association, the three-day event includes a meet-and-greet with Santa, tours of Bellefonte establishments, horse-drawn carriage rides, an arts and crafts show, a home tour and live entertainment.

Organizers said the event annually attracts up to 8,500 people.

Britney Milazzo: 814-231-4648, @M11azzo

Sunday activities

10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Free shuttle bus between Bellefonte Middle School and High School parking lots, on the Diamond downtown, corner of Allegheny and Linn, and CPI Festival of Trees

11 4 p.m.: Horse-drawn carriage rides, departing the Brockerhoff on Allegheny Street

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Arts & Crafts show and sale, YMCA downtown and at Bellefonte Middle School

Noon to 3 p.m.: St. John’s Evangelist , Open House, 134 E. Bishop

Noon to 4 p.m.: Historic Tours and James Byrnes glass-blown handcrafted ornaments on sale, Centre County Library Historical Museum, 203 N. Allegheny Street

Noon to 5 p.m.: Bellefonte Art Museum displays and sales, 133 N. Allegheny St.

Noon to 4 p.m.: Santa’s House open on the Diamond

Noon to 4 p.m.: Festival of Trees, CPI

1 p.m.: Victorian High Tea with entertainment, Reynolds Mansion, 101 W. Linn St.

2 p.m.: Children’s Teas at the Little House, on West Howard Street behind the Centre County Library Historic Museum

2 p.m.: Centre Heritage Singers, Trinity UMC

3 p.m.: Callanish concert, Trinity UMC

4 p.m.: Victorian Handbell Choir Concert, Faith United Methodist Church

7:30 p.m.: Bellefonte Victorian Christmas Community Choir Concert, Bellefonte High School theater, 830 E. Bishop St.