The Peanuts Gang, the crew of the starship U.S.S. Enterprise and the Cratchit family of Victorian London swept the popular vote at the Aurora Historical Society’s Tanner House Holidays in 2019, winning first, second place and third places in the Favorite Room contest.
Spiros Koliopoulis garnered the highest number of votes for his presentation, in the Library, of an extensive collection of Charlie Brown Christmas memorabilia which he displayed alongside a perfect replica of Snoopy’s over-decorated doghouse and a spotlighted little tree that “seems to need a home”.
Coming in a close second were Mike Fichtel, Bill Walsh and Scott Sherwood whose “Beam Me Up to Christmas” display in the Upstairs Sitting Room featured Star Trek memorabilia ranging from books and character figures to a small-scale replica of the transporter chamber in which Captain Kirk and Officers Spock and Scott prepare to be beamed away from the ship.
Placing third in the popular vote was the Dining Room, reimagined by Kevin and Rachel Rose Bee as the setting for Christmas dinner at the Cratchit’s house after Ebenezer Scrooge’s miraculous change of heart in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
Koliopoulis traces his affinity for Charlie Brown and the other Peanuts characters to his days at Bardwell School when he discovered their books in the library. “A lovable loser and a dog that could talk,” he says now. “What more could a kid ask for?”
The Star Trek display drew upon Fichtel’s decades of collecting and highlighted the Klingon character Worf, whom he portrayed as napping while waiting for Santa. “Just think,” co-designer Scott Sherwood said, “this won a history award and it hasn’t even happened yet!”
This was the second win of the season for the Dining Room. It also won the Victoria Award which is given by the Aurora Historical Society to a room showing the best use of history. The Victoria was shared with Michael Bryant who decorated the Family Sitting Room with photo reproductions of Christmas trees in the 1800s.
The house is now closed until June 2020, when it will reopen for the summer season of guided tours and special events.