Holiday Traditions Open House Returns to the City of Auburn this December

Christopher Molloy

Citywide events celebrate the spirit of the season in History’s Hometown

The City of Auburn’s Historic and Cultural Sites Commission invites all to experience the beauty, history, and holiday magic of History’s Hometown this Christmas season. Held on the second Sunday in December, Holiday Traditions was created by the Seward House Museum more than three decades ago as a token of appreciation to the Auburn community. Now back since 2019, the “open house” tradition will once again welcome the community to participating sites on Sunday, December 11.


Cayuga Museum of History and Art

203 Genesee Street

Open 1 PM to 5 PM – Join the staff of the Cayuga Museum of History and Art for their Holiday Traditions Open House. Guests will be invited to craft making in the galleries, treated to light refreshments, and will have the opportunity to explore the Museum dressed for the holidays during this Sunday event. Parking is available in front of and behind the Museum. (315) 253-8051;


NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center

25 South Street

Open Noon to 5 PM – The NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center will host a 20-plus vendor holiday market, live entertainment by jazz vocalist Connie Fredericks-Malone, and hands-on creative activities. At 12:30 PM, the Auburn Downtown BID unveils the original panels for its public art project funded by the New York State Department of State Downtown Revitalization Initiative, plus meet the artists. Parking is available on site and in the adjacent parking garage. (315) 258-9820;

Merry-Go-Round Playhouse
6877 E. Lake Road

2 PM – The Auburn Chamber Orchestra will present “Sounds of the Season” conducted by Dr. Victor Vallo, Jr. Now in its 36th season, the Orchestra musicians come from a wide range of age groups, communities, and professions. This concert will feature a variety of music, including songs from The Polar Express, Handel’s “Messiah,” Christmas carol medleys, and an audience participation finale sing-a-long. Public event, open to all ages; donations appreciated.


Schweinfurth Art Center

205 Genesee Street

Open 1 to 5 PM – Visit the Schweinfurth Art Center to view two exhibitions, the 41st annual Quilts=Art=Quilts and Emotional Constructs. At 1 PM, dynamic contemporary solo electric harpist Christopher Molloy will perform, and from 2 to 3 PM, QAQ Trunk Show quilt artist Mari Townsend will show-and-tell her work and art-making process. Enjoy hot chocolate and raffle to win a small quilt from artists featured in Quilts=Art=Quilts. Parking is available in front of and behind the Art Center. (315) 255-1553;  


Seward House Museum

33 South Street

Open Noon to 5 PM – Harkening back to a Victorian Christmas, the community is invited to experience the majestic Seward House Museum decked in holiday finery and enjoy live musical performances throughout the day. Museum staff and volunteers spread cheer by regaling visitors with stories of past Seward family Christmases during this community open house. Parking is available onsite and in the parking garage. (315) 252-1283;


St. Francis of Assisi Church

299 Clark Street

5:30 PM – The Stardusters All-Star Band will play Harriet Tubman tributes, Gospels, and Christmas classics. Refreshments will be served after the performance in Nacca Hall. This is a free public event. Band members include Julie Howard (vocals), Bernie McNabb (vocals), John Bertonica (drums), Joe Camardo (saxophone), and Paul Liberatore (keyboard). (315) 252-7593;

Ward W. O’Hara Agricultural Museum

6880 E Lake Road Rt. 38A

Open 10 AM to 4 PM – The Ward W. O’Hara Agricultural Museum will be decorated for an old-fashioned Christmas. View more than 100 trees for the Museum’s annual Festival of Trees and pick a winning favorite. There will be horse-drawn wagon rides, Christmas carols sing along, and more kid-friendly activities. Santa Claus arrives at noon by carriage and will visit with children until 4 PM. Parking is available onsite. (315) 252-7644;


Willard Memorial Chapel

17 Nelson Street

Open Noon to 4 PM – Join Captain Nick Klaus at the Willard Memorial Chapel for a reading of A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas at 1 PM, sponsored by Literacy Volunteers of America. Complimentary seasonal treats like candy cane cotton candy will be served. Free tours of the Chapel will be given from 2 to 4 PM. Parking is available onsite; the Chapel is handicap accessible through its north entrance off Seymour Street. (315) 252-0339;



For more information about Holiday Traditions or for a photo from past events, please contact NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center Visitor Experience Manager Courtney Kasper at (315) 258-9820. If you have questions regarding a specific venue, please contact each respective site directly.

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