Meadow Brook Holiday Walk lights up campus with holiday cheer

Taylor Crumley, Staff Reporter

Some consider one of the most magical parts of the holiday season to be admiring the intricate light displays that many homes and businesses flaunt to spread holiday cheer.

In good spirit of the season, Meadow Brook Hall, the former home of Oakland University’s founder Matilda Dodge-Wilson, flashes an elegant display of lights for the community to enjoy. The four-story mansion is elaborately decorated from head to toe in sparkling shades of red and green.

“Before donating her estate for the founding of OU, she built her home to entertain, and we strive to keep that going,” said Faith Brody, external relations assistant at Meadow Brook Hall.

This will be the 47th year of the tradition, and the number of people that come to enjoy the festivities continues to grow each year. About 70,000 people attend throughout the season. The opening day, Friday, Nov. 23, hosted over 500 people.

“The Holiday Walk opened up the day after Thanksgiving and runs until Dec. 23,” Brody said. “It’s a self-guided tour of the mansion all decked out in holiday decor. There are over 50 decorated trees, including a live poinsettia tree in the sunroom. Each room has a different theme, color scheme and something new.”

The historic landmark in lights, sponsored by Oakland University Credit Union, has much to offer this holiday season for students and families alike.

“My favorite part of the Holiday Walk is how the decor is different every year, it’s always a different experience,” said Stephanie Pini, the event coordinator for Meadow Brook Hall. “I’ve been there for five years, and feel like it just keeps getting bigger and better — I even put a mini tree in my office to get into the spirit.”

Tours are usually available from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., except on Dec. 11, 17–20, 22 and 23, when touring will be available until 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in the museum shop from the time Meadow Brook Hall opens until one hour before closing time.

Along with the guided tour of the decorated Meadow Brook Hall, there will be various correlating events throughout the season to engage in with friends and family of all ages.

“On Dec. 11, we will be hosting OU Night, where all Oakland staff, alumni and faculty can tour for $12 instead of $20 for adults,” Brody said. “Students can tour for $5 until December 20, and students can take regular tours free throughout the year.”

On the nights with extended hours, there will be bonfires, strolling carolers, s’mores kits and hot beverages — both kid-friendly and adult-oriented — available for purchase.

This year, Meadow Brook Hall has reinvented their family activities and is now including visits from Santa Claus and his live reindeer on Dec. 21, 22 and 23. Professional photographer Charity Goodman will be with Santa Claus at the Holiday Walk, taking photos for $10.

During the tour, children are encouraged to drop off their wishlist to Santa Claus in the North Pole mailbox in Santa’s Workshop.

Cleo the St. Bernard, inspired by Matilda Dodge-Wilson’s pet, will be guiding tours for children around the estate. Along the tour, children of all ages are prompted to search for and collect candy for “Cleo’s Candy Adventure.”

For more information on the Meadow Brook Holiday Walk and other activities going on this holiday season, visit the Meadow Brook website.