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'TEDDY' HUGS THE SPOTLIGHT AT VICTORIAN CHRISTMAS

Teddy -- the bear, that is -- will be in the spotlight throughout the Victorian Christmas in the Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site. The nine-day celebration starts at 5:45 p.m. Dec. 6 with the lighting of the Christmas tree on the site's front lawn.

Opening festivities will continue inside from 6 to 8 p.m. and will include wine tasting and turn-of-the-century entertainment, with Gary Gath playing the site's newly restored Steinway piano. Decorations with the teddy bear theme will be provided by member clubs of the Eighth District of Federated Garden Clubs of New York State.

Visitors to the site throughout the series of programs, luncheons and candlelight dinners, concluding Dec. 14, will have the chance to view a special exhibit, "From Teddy's Bear to the Teddy Bear: Celebrating the 100th Birthday of an American Icon." The exhibit will feature the Traveling Teddies, Nat and Parker, who will be full of "stories" about their visits to various national parks across the country. Other old and new teddy bears will be in all sizes.

Tickets for the opening night reception are $20 each for site members and $25 for nonmembers. A commemorative wine glass will given to each guest as a memento. Reservations are being taken at the site, 884-0095.

A holiday open house especially designed for families will be held Dec. 8 from noon to 5 p.m., with entertainment at 1:30 by the Grand Island High School Madrigal Singers and at 2:30 by the Nardin Academy Intermediate Choir. Admission is $1 each.

The site also will offer three boutiques. New this year is a Craft Boutique that will have handcrafted specialty items. Teddy's Herb Cupboard will be filled with treats from the garden and kitchen and the Gift Shop will feature teddy bears and teddy-related items, in addition to seasonal ornaments and gifts.

A shuttle will operate continually from the Quality Market's rear parking lot on North Street during Victorian Christmas.

Decorations will remain in place throughout December, when site hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. General admission is $3; $2 for seniors; and $1 for children ages 6-14.