Nutcracker in the Castle
November 17, 2023 to January 8, 2024
The beloved Nutcracker fairytale returns to the Paine "castle" with a mesmerizing array of sights, sounds, and surprises! This holiday season guests are invited to explore the settings of the story on self-guided tours, guided tours, and candlelight tours. Along the way, each elaborately decorated room of the historic Paine mansion reveals a new chapter of the story!
From the opening party scene with a giant Christmas tree to the Land of Sweets and beyond, follow the adventure of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince. As part of your journey, guests are invited to visit the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café for a scrumptious treat! See below for more details about the types of tours, their dates and times, and the hours of the café.
Featuring 20 decorated settings and 70 Christmas trees in the historic Paine mansion
On self-guided tours, journey through more than 20 rooms and spaces elaborately decorated as the fantastic scenes of the Nutcracker story. On the first floor, each setting features a large storybook with illustrations that reveal a portion of the fairy tale. On the second floor, the rooms portray the home and lifestyle of the Stahlbaum family, as well as the workshop of Godfather Drosselmeyer and a wide variety of finely crafted wooden Nutcrackers. Throughout both floors, more than 60 mischievous mice are hidden within the settings.
Featuring the decorated settings illuminated by Christmas trees in the evening
Candlelight tours offer guests an especially entrancing way to take a self-guided tour of the Nutcracker display in the evening. The lights of the “castle” are dimmed and the settings are illuminated by the glow of more than 70 Christmas trees. As guests enter, they are handed electric candles to carry as they wander through the glowing rooms.
Featuring live musical, acting, and youth dance performances
A guided tour of Nutcracker in the Castle brings the characters and scenes of the fairy tale to life. The tour begins with a festive party in the “Ballroom” and live performances by a string quartet. Guests enjoy punch and cookies while Godfather Drosselmeyer tells the story of Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.
Afterwards, he leads guests through the elaborately decorated rooms of the mansion. The story culminates in the “Lands of Afar” where youth dancers from Valley Academy for the Arts perform selections from the Nutcracker ballet. Guests then tour the second-floor rooms, which are fancifully decorated as Clara’s family home and Drosselmeyer’s workshop.
Tours begin every 30 minutes and last about an hour.
Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café
Located in the Conservatory at the back of the Paine property
Visit the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Café for a scrumptious treat before or after tours of Nutcracker in the Castle! With the Sugar Plum Fairy herself as hostess, the café serves cupcakes and hot cocoa in a fairyland setting within the Paine’s Conservatory.
No reservation is necessary. Please note the hours of the café, and coordinate visits before or after Nutcracker tours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Planning a visit to the Paine for Nutcracker in the Castle has many facets to consider. Let us make it easy for you! Use the button below to find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Valley Academy for the Arts is a premier, not-for-profit dance organization in the greater Fox Valley region. Proceeds from Nutcracker in the Castle help to support Valley Academy programs and student dance education. Aspiring young dancers are invited to come and experience a free ballet class. Please call (920) 279-1578 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.