The 2018 Victoria Mansion Christmas Gala on Nov. 28 was a night to remember, with the theme “Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes” evoking memories of Christmases past.

“This is the mansion’s most successful gala yet,” said Thomas Johnson, executive director of the 19-century historic home museum on Danforth Street in Portland.

“It’s a record year in terms of number of attendees and in terms of fundraising,” said board president Drew Oestreicher of Yarmouth. “The house looks amazing, and we’ve helped the mansion raise $17,000.”

Even with 250 guests, the crowd flowed more easily than in previous years with the festivities extending into the Carriage House, where jazz singer Viva performed holiday favorites.

“The theme ‘Christmas Through a Child’s Eyes’ is interestingly designed throughout,” said event co-chair Lauren Webster of Peaks Island. “The designers have done a fantastic job of bringing in the youthful element very elegantly.”

On behalf of her employer, Seventy Five State Street, a nonprofit senior living center next to the mansion, Webster decorated the ell porch with a “first snowfall” theme. “The first snow is magical, whether you’re 1 or 100,” she said.


The vestibule decorations are by the Saco Festival of Trees Design Committee, the reception room and stairwell by Emerald City, the dining room by Dodge the Florist, the library by Clipper Merchant Tea House, the red bedroom by Dan Gifford, the sitting room by K.D. Cole and D.L. Cole & Associates and the green bedroom by Mimi & Mum.

“We’re privileged to have this place in our community,” said Dan Kennedy, owner of Harmon’s Floral Co., who decorated the parlor for the 26th year. “We’re one of the very few mansion museums in the country, and I’m honored to be part of it.”

Christmas at Victoria Mansion is a tradition not only for the volunteer designers, who tend to come back year after year, but also for thousands of visitors each Christmas season.

“I bring the kids here every year,” said Maureen Hasson of South Portland. “We never miss a year.”

The mansion is open for tours through Jan. 6, other than Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, go to

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]

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