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December 18, 2016

Christmas Dinner Recap

Cottonwood Mansion Museum hosted a Christmas Dinner on December 18, 2016. Guests were served a delicious hot meal catered by Rosie Balogh with help from Barbara Held, President and many other volunteers.

Richard Hoover, Vice President (shown here) along with his wife Anne volunteered and also enjoyed the Christmas dinner.

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Milfred and Marjorie Hartwick guests at the dinner.

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Bruce and Lois Gifford along with their family and friends at the dinner.

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Craig Sitter, Karen Zandersons, and their guests at the dinner.

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December 3 & 10, 2016

Open House & Bake Sale/Bazaar Recap

Cottonwood Mansion Museum hosted an Open House & Bake Sale Bazaar on December 3 & 10, 2016. Guests were treated to a wide array of bake sale items and many unique treasures from the bazaar. Entertainment was provided from a duo from the Cottonwood Brass Quintet, Dave and Mary Ann Pearson. Xander Geister was also on hand signing copies of the Haldimand Heritage Sites 2017 calendar which he produced.

Volunteer Lynda Davis helping at the Christmas Open House.

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Dave and Mary Ann Pearson a duo from the Cottonwood Brass Quintet entertained the guests at the Christmas Open House.

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Xander Geister who produced the Haldimand Heritage Sites 2017 calendar signing purchased copies for guests at the Christmas Open House.

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November 26 & 27, 2016

Christmas Decorating Day Recap

Cottonwood Mansion Museum hosted a Christmas Decorating Day on November 26 & 27, 2016. The Mansion was decorated in Victorian theme for the Christmas holidays. We had many volunteers come out and participate in the event and enjoyed a wonderful lunch provided by Barbara Held, President. Thank you to all who made the day a great success.

Rosemary Hilton and Walter Plaenksken helping with the decorating at the Mansion.

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Lynn Otterman decorating the tree in the Sitter Music Room.

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Lynda Davis and our youngest helper of the day decorating the tabletop tree in the Smith Parlour.

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October 15, 2016

Victorian Children's Event Recap

Cottonwood Mansion Museum hosted a Victorian Children's Event on October 15,2016 with period playtime and education that included vintage themed toys, games, lunch, entertainment, and a tour of the Mansion. Special thanks to Karen Richardson of Haldimand County Museum and Archives for the use of their vintage toys and games and to all the volunteers and guests who attended the event.

Jack enjoyed an afternoon of vintage playtime with special thanks to John and Lorna Walker of The Neat Little Book Shop in Cayuga for loan of the "Pirate" board for souvenir photos.

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Maddie in vintage play at Cottonwood Mansion Museum's Victorian Children's Event.

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Dave and Mary Ann Pearson entertained at Cottonwood Mansion Museum during the Children's Victorian Event.

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Volunteers Jackie and Grace helped show the children how to have fun with no batteries required. (Toys and games provided by Haldimand County Museum and Archives, Cayuga)

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August 21, 2016

The Peter Banting Swingtet Concert-Beef On A Bun And Corn Roast Recap

The Hamilton based "Peter Banting Swingtet" made its first appearance at Cottonwood Mansion Museum on Sunday, August 21st at the Mansion's Beef on a Bun and Corn Roast event. The gazebo at Cottonwood was used as a dance floor. Chairs were set close to it and also under the shade of some of the magnificent trees on the property. A breeze from the lake made for a perfect day.

Members of the audience who didn't dance could be heard singing along with the favorites like "Hello, Dolly" and "Mame" among others. The band has been in the Selkirk area before but this was its first time at Cottonwood. They are known in many areas for the help they provide for not for profit organizations and charities.

Peter Banting provided a variety of classic jokes between the sets. The supper after the concert offered Snyder's corn, beef on a bun with a variety of condiments, three salads and strawberry pie for dessert. It was catered by Barbara Held, President and assisted by other Mansion volunteers. Guests were invited to eat indoors or outdoors.

Many in attendance were first time visitors to the Mansion and took advantage of the self-guided tour which was included in the price for admission. Many expressed their intention to return for other events.

The Peter Banting SWINGTET: left to right, Back row: John Steven on guitar; James Locke, drums; Urmas Soomet, bass.

Front row: Rudy Wasylenky, tenor saxophone; Peter Banting, alto saxophone; Ruth St. Amand, trumpet; and Keith Kindree, trombone.

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President of Cottonwood Barbara Held and Gelindo Sanmartin of Hamilton help get the dancing going in the Mansion's gazebo, perfect for that kind of amusement.

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Volunteer David Pearson "roasting" the corn for Cottonwood's Swingtet Concert and Beef on a Bun. Former President Clayton Spears helped with the shucking of the 84 ears of Snyder's corn earlier in the day.

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Volunteers for Cottonwood Mansion Museum's Beef on a Bun, Sunday, August 21st. Maureen Edge, Cindy Stewart-Held, Administrative Assistant at Cottonwood, Greg Hilton, and Barbara Held, President of the Preservation Foundation.

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August 7, 2016

Victorian Concert and Peach Social Recap

Cottonwood Mansion Museum hosted the 11th Annual Victorian Concert and Peach Social on Sunday, August 7th.

Guests were entertained by the Cottonwood Brass Quintet with special guest Dr. Henry Meredith. Volunteers served an ice cream and peach dessert with peach punch.

The Cottonwood Brass tuning up for the concert.

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Volunteers preparing the peach dessert. Pictured from left to right: Greg Hilton, Barbara Held, President Cottonwood Mansion Museum and Deanna Schaus.

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Pictured from left to right: Peter Banting, Adam Mahonske, a concert pianist teaching now in Baltimore, whose mother is from the Simcoe area and was a friend of Peter's mother, Hula, their golden retriever, now retired from providing litters for service dogs, and Wendy Banting.

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June 19, 2016

Strawberry Social Recap

Cottonwood Mansion Museum hosted their annual Strawberry Social on Sunday, June 19.

Guests enjoyed listening to the Haldimand-Norfolk Concert Band, sponsored by Bob and Shirley Otterman. Volunteers served an ice cream and strawberry dessert with punch.

Pictured from the left: Wilma and Jim Louks of South Cayuga and Don Booker of Dunnville who won the door prize, a print of Cottonwood Mansion Museum by Emily Otterman.

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Pictured from the left: Joan Harper of Selkirk, her Mom Marjorie Hartwick of Fisherville and her daughter Isabella Harper, also of Selkirk, enjoyed an ice cream and strawberry dessert on the grounds of Cottonwood Mansion Museum after listening to the Haldimand-Norfolk Concert Band at the annual Strawberry Social held Sunday, June 19.

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Haldimand-Norfolk Concert Band entertained guests during Cottonwood Mansion Museum's annual Strawberry Social held on Sunday, June 19.

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May 22, 2016

High Tea-Downton Abbey Style Recap

Guests at Cottonwood Mansion Museum on Sunday, May 22nd, thoroughly enjoyed a high tea catered by President Barbara Held. Among the guests and volunteers were John and April Skerrett of Simcoe, in full Victorian regalia.

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A display of a collection of Victorian buttons owned by Mary Ann Pearson of Cayuga was also on display and will be at the Mansion throughout the summer season. Guests expressed total delight in the afternoon's festivities.

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The display of the high tea served to our guests.

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Claryssa and Amelya, granddaughters of members Bruce and Lois Gifford sang a tune to entertain our guests.

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May 7, 2016

Cottonwood Mansion Museum Dolly Tea Party Recap

On May 7 the 5th annual Dolly Tea Party was held at the Mansion. The event was organized and presented by Deanna Schaus, Maureen Edge and their staff of volunteers. It is one of the Mansion's most popular events and has already been pre-booked and sold out for 2017. Guests enjoyed an afternoon of lunch, tea, punch, cookies, handmade desserts, crafts, and games. There were plenty of door prizes and each girl received a gift bag for attending. This year a special donation of a hand-made doll was donated for a prize by Marla Eve who is a master doll maker. She has won international competitions and earned a perfect score in the last international competition.

"Kayla" the beautiful doll donated by Marla Eve for the Dolly Tea Party.

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From the left; Roshika Dias with her daughter, Shekinah Williams, 5, of Caledonia, along with Christine Ralston of Selkirk, enjoyed an afternoon of fun at Cottonwood Mansion Museum's 5th annual Dolly Tea Party on May 7, 2016.

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From the left; Stuart and Bridget Brown of Port Dover, were joined by Ann Brown from Toronto, and Rebecca Shapiro of St. Catherines at the 5th annual Dolly Tea Party held at Cottonwood Mansion Museum on Saturday, May7, 2016.

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Mom, Kelly Cooper, with Jade and Kennedy Cooper, and their baby dolls, all of Stoney Creek, were joined by grandmother Joyce Ward of York at Cottonwood's 5th annual Dolly Tea Party on Saturday, May 7, 2016.

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March 13, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Country Dinner Recap

Cottonwood Mansion Museum hosted a Traditional Country Dinner in honor of St. Patrick's Day on Sunday, March 13. Barbara Held, President, along with volunteers served baked ham, colcannon, barmbrack and all the trimmings which included delicious desserts, tea, coffee and punch.

Attending the dinner from the left are; Linda and Harold Robertson of Selkirk, Lois and Bruce Gifford of Fisherville, and Ron and Anne Pavlovich also of Selkirk.

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Wendy and Peter Banting attended the St. Patrick's celebration.

Peter also provided entertainment to the crowd after dinner with his Alto Sax, he is a member of the Peter Banting Swingtets of Hamilton.

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Barbara Held, President enjoying the event and serving.

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Irish Barmbrack

Prep: 15m
Cook: 1hr
Ready in: 5h 15m


2 1/2 cups dried mixed fruit (Compliments Five Fruit Medley)
1 1/2 cups hot brewed tea
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon marmalade
1 teaspoon grated orange zest


  1. Soak the dried fruit in the hot tea for 2 hours, then drain and gently squeeze out excess tea.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch Bundt pan. Stir together the flour cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda; set aside.
  3. Beat the egg, sugar, marmalade, orange zest, and tea-soaked fruit until well combined. Gently fold in the flour until just combined, then pour into the prepared Bundt pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour or until the top of the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Allow to cool in the pan for 2 hours before removing. Continue to cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Press the objects of choice into the cake through the bottom before serving.

Carrot salad

8 cups cooked carrots (sliced)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp dry mustard or regular
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 onions (chopped)
1 can tomato soup (don't add anything)
3 tbsp vinegar
3/4 cup white sugar
pepper to taste
1/2 cup salad oil
1 green pepper (chopped)
chopped celery

Mix all together, marinate at least 24 hours. Will keep in fridge for weeks.

Can be served hot or cold.

February 14, 2016

Valentine's Day Country Dinner Recap

Pictured left to right are: Bob Otterman and Shirley Otterman of Fisherville, Jack and Darlene Binns of Hamilton, and standing is Barbara Held, President of the Cottonwood Mansion Preservation Foundation at the Mansion's Annual Valentine's Day Country Dinner held on Sunday, February 14th, at the Selkirk heritage site.

Guests enjoyed a social hour followed by dinner. A self-guided tour of the Mansion was also included in the event. Cayuga resident Deb Matthews added to the enjoyment with "unmentionables", jewelry, an autograph book, and a quilt belonging to her Great Grandmother and dated to 1872, when the Mansion would have been in its heyday in terms of Victorian parties and enjoyment.

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