The lights will glisten in the dark as people come from all over this holiday season to see the decoration of this historic site in Hamilton.
The Kuser Mansion is the destination for thousands of people every December, and the responsibility to get the site into shape falls on Patti Krzywulak, the program coordinator of the Kuser Mansion. Krzywulak spends about five hours a day, five day a week, during the month of November decorating the mansion.
She feels pressure to keep the tradition going, with the historic mansion having been decorated for Christmas every year since 1979. Krzywulak has been employed by the township for nearly 34 years and has been decorating the mansion for seven.
“It was actually when I took this position over, a lot of my coworkers indicated to me that this was the perfect job for me,” she said.
Krzywulak’s work will be on full display this month, particularly during Winter Wonderland, the township’s annual holiday festival. This year, Winter Wonderland is Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7 at Kuser Farm Park from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. The township Christmas Tree lighting will take place Friday, Dec. 6 at 6 p.m. in front of Kuser Mansion.
Winter Wonderland is free to attend. Parking will be available at Trenton Catholic Academy.
In addition to the decorations, Winter Wonderland will feature a petting zoo, a Holiday Express Train and Santa’s Village with free pictures with Santa. Visitors will also be able to visit Santa’s Secret Workshop of crafters. A station will be available to make “Reindeer food” so the kids can sprinkle on their lawns on Christmas Eve.
Inside the mansion, the Jersey Valley Model Railroad Club’s annual display can be viewed in the basement.
There also will be tours of Kuser Mansion during Winter Wonderland, so attendees can get the full experience. The mansion was built in 1892, and ttour guides will be dressed in clothing from that time period to give the visitors a sense they have gone back to that time.
The history of the mansion and the family are the main aspects that people are excited for each year, Krzywulak said. The mansion transports guests back in time and remind people of past instances that they’ve read in books or heard stories about from others.
Krzywulak’s favorite part of the process is the finishing touch when everything is complete and she can look back on all of her hard work. Depending on the theme, new decorations can be purchased as frequently as every year, so each year is a different experience and provides a unique challenge.
Krzywulak said the tour guides are vital to the visitor experience, and provide tours yearround, not just at Winter Wonderland. Holiday tours of the mansion run for two weeks after Winter Wonderland.
After Christmas, tours stop until the first week in March. Then, they run every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. until the end of October. The tours are free but donations are appreciated.
For more information on the Kuser Mansion and the full schedule, go to hamiltonnj.com/kusermansion.