A Government House Christmas returns
Today’s open house will showcase 2 trees, 15 wreaths, 12 poinsettias
Gov. Larry Hogan’s re-election meant a lot of things in November.
For Republicans, Hogan’s ride to success atop the blue wave was monumental to the party in Maryland.
For the Government House staff, Hogan’s win was the moment to start preparing for today’s holiday open house.
The public is invited to celebrate the holidays with Hogan and first lady Yumi Hogan at the house in the center of Annapolis. With a month of preparation leading up to this day, the time has been spent doing more than just putting up a couple decorations and baking a few cookies.
Here are the numbers it took to put on this year’s celebration:
One hundred and fifty years of the Government House serving as the home of Maryland governors is being celebrated today.
Twenty-five dollars for the limited edition holiday ornament designed by Yumi Hogan. This year’s design celebrates the Government House’s 150th anniversary with the house framed in an evergreen wreath. The first lady pulls her inspiration from Maryland landmarks like the State House and adds a “festive touch” with red ribbons and holly wreaths and berries.
“I pick poignant symbols that truly represent Maryland, or details of the Government House such as the black-eyed Susan flowers, the large window panes of the Government House, the iron-wrought front gates or the historic wooden State House dome,” she said.
Guests can also buy all of the ornaments the first lady has designed over the last four years for $75. The ornaments are provided by the Foundation for the Preservation of Government House of Maryland with proceeds supporting repairs, remodeling and preservation of the house. A free Maryland flag ornament for the anniversary will also be given to guests.
Thirty years that Barbara HarwardTroska has served Government House as assistant residence manager, making sure every bulb, ornament and piece of greenery is exactly where it should be.
She spends about a week making sure garlands are hung on the staircase, palladium windows and fireplace mantles, and swings are hung from the drawing-room windows. She spends another week making sure the outside of the house is lit and green with garland, fresh wreaths, swags and potted plants.
In the last week or so, Harward-Troska gets the trees lighted and decorated as well as placing fresh florals and poinsettias outside the home.
How much greenery is that?
Three hundred feet of garland cover the perimeter of the home’s fence, 36 swags around the outside of the house, 15 live wreaths, 12 poinsettias and the stars: Two Fraser fir trees with precisely placed ornaments.
An ornate 12-foot-by-6-foot tree is the first thing guests will see as they step into the house and a 13-foot-by-5½-foot tree in the conservatory is decorated with snowmen for a more whimsical theme.
Ten thousand cookies have been baked for the open house in 15 varieties. This does not include the brownies, cheesecake bars and pecan bars also made fresh for the event by the three house chefs.
“Our baking starts early December and you know it’s the Christmas season when you smell the first batch baking,” executive chef Charles “Buz” Porciello said.
Sixty gallons of apple cider from Lohr’s Orchard in Churchville go into the hot wassail guests will wash their cookies down with.
Three string quartets will play holiday classics to set the mood. River Hill High School, Dulaney High School and Huntingtown High School string ensembles will rotate in hourly shifts.
Last year, 1,133 people didn’t get the memo that the event was canceled for snow. They were still greeted by the governor and first lady with a warm welcome.
While snow isn’t in the forecast for this weekend, Harward-Troska said the staff will be prepared to welcome guests in any weather.
And if it does snow?
“We’re going to be gracious and open the doors again,” she said. “That’s when you know it’s Christmas.”
The main staircase of Government House, the traditional home of the currently elected governor of Maryland, is decorated for the holiday season. It will be open to the public for its annual holiday open house this afternoon.
Wreaths decorate the spiked fence ringing the Government House, which is celebrating 150 years of serving as the home of Maryland governors today.
The exterior of Government House, traditional home of the governor of Maryland, has been made festive ahead of today’s open house.