Discover Camillus landmark during holiday open house

One sure sign of the holiday season in Camillus is the annual Holiday Open House event at the Octagon House, a yearly tradition that draws crowds through the historic home's doors for raffles, food, carolers and a visit from Santa.

This year, the open house will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday Nov. 21 and Sunday Nov. 22.

The Octagon House of Camillus was built in 1856 and is on the National Registry of Historical Places. The unusual eight-sided home boasts many octagonal features inside, including the railing of the spiraling central staircase. There are six stories to explore, from the sub-basement to the cupola, which offers a panoramic view of Camillus. Restored rooms on three floors and a gallery of displays offer visitors an insight into the history of the home, the families that lived there and the town.

During the open house, the pantry will be stocked with locally-baked goodies ready for your Thanksgiving table. Sit and relax in the lower kitchen, circa 1856, with homemade chili, pie and cookies.

On the first floor, decorated trees, wreaths and wall hangings will be up for raffle. This year, more than 25 items -- mostly trees -- will be up for grabs, donated by area businesses, local residents and friends of the Octagon House.

Santa Claus will be available to visit with children from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday in the Gallery. Maxwell Memorial Librarian Sally Wnuk will read children's stories from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday. From 2 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, the Village Singers will carol through the house.

Area artists and crafters will have wares on display and for sale, including painted giftware, paintings, hand sewn purses and totes, shell creations and holiday arrangements and gifts.

The Octagon House is open to the public April through December from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays for guided tours. The house is also available to town of Camillus residents for special occasions. Tours can be booked by organizations and groups. Although the historical home is not handicap accessible, a visual tour is offered on the main floor. For additional information, call 488-7800.

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