The Nutcracker comes to life at Paine


Anya Kelley / Advance-Titan– All the rooms at the Paine are decorated to feature different scenes from The Nutcracker.

Anya Kelley, Assistant News Editor

The Paine Art Center and Gardens opened their 16th season of “Nutcracker in the Castle” on Nov. 18. 

The Paine offers a few ways to experience the story of Clara and the Nutcracker, from self-guided to candlelight tours of the mansion. 

Noell Dickmann, the marketing manager for the Paine, said the turnout for Nutcracker in the Castle has been better than expected. Staff at the Paine attribute this success to the success of the Paines recent summer exhibition “The Nature of Light: An Exploration After Dark.”

“Many people were introduced to the Paine through [Nature of Light] and we are very happy to see so many of them returning for Nutcracker in the Castle,” Dickmann said. 

Each room at the Paine mansion is decorated with magical Christmas lights and authentic German nutcrackers.

Dancers from the Valley Academy for the Arts are positioned in each room to perform various numbers from the Nutcracker ballet. Proceeds from Nutcracker in the Castle help to support the students’ dance education. 

More than 80 Christmas trees stand throughout the mansion, decorated to match each room’s theme.

 Make sure you keep an eye out for the mice hiding throughout each room. They might just be stealing the desert in the Land of Sweets…

However, if you’re looking for your own sweet treat, check out the Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Cafe. 

For $8, you can enjoy a cupcake made by Tamara’s the Cake Guru and a cup of hot cocoa, milk or coffee. The Sugar Plum Fairy’s Cupcake Cafe is open Wednesday through Sunday, hours varying depending on the day. 

This season, Nutcracker at the Castle had over 2,000 people attend the opening weekend. Guided tours have shown to sell out every year, but tickets went especially fast this season. 

“Right about Nov. 17, we switched to a policy where we said guided tours were sold out online because there were so limited of spots left,” Dickmann said. “But, we could still add one to three people onto a guided tour if they called.”

Now, The Paine is no longer accpeting call in-reservations for guided tours.

The Paine has reached full capacity for guided tours and can no longer accommodate more patrons. 

The Nutcracker at the Castle is a wonderful event for the community and the perfect way to get in the holiday spirit. This event runs through Jan. 9 with limited tour space available.

If you’re interested in scheduling a reservation for one of the self -guided tours, visit