As we near the month of February — surely to bring more cold weather and snow days — the Friends of the Kilmer Mansion hosted “Winter Wonderbands” on Saturday, an eventful community showcase right on Riverside Drive.
The event housed catered food, local small-business vendors and seven local bands to perform in the mansion’s impressive events hall. L’bonti, Kipani and Tom Jolu were just some of the bands who showcased their music and stage skills to the students and community members who attended in support of Kilmer Mansion’s preservation. According to Crystal Sackett, Kilmer Mansion’s events manager, this year is the second time the fundraiser has been held at the mansion.
“The money that we raise goes directly into the restoration of the mansion,” Sackett said. “I think that is the number one goal.”
Tiffany Simonik, owner of The Parlor City Soapery, tabled at the event with her products. Simonik thought the fundraiser was a good way to gather people from the community, especially local small-business owners struggling to reach a large demographic of people.
“People sit and enjoy the music and, in between breaks, customers will come over and check out the products,” Simonik said. “Essentially like a porchfest for winter.”
The Parlor City Soapery was not the only local business offering its products, however. Homemade jewelry, wood art and Kilmer Mansion merchandise were all also available. In addition, Johnson City’s Grapevine Café brought a delectable selection of foods — like vegetarian tacos — next to another table selling $5 quality draft beers.
As for the music, all the bands put on show-stopping sets — including Kipani’s pop-rock sound — sprinkled with an impressive display of performance art from the band’s keyboardist and lead singer, Tiffany Jhingoor. However, not only was she lighting up the stage, but Jhingoor also had a large hand in the creation and organization of the event, according to Sackett.
“She wanted to come together and bring the community together to celebrate the mansion, as well as give local musicians a space in the winter to play,” Sackett said.
Along with access to the mansion’s large and beautifully decorated events hall, patrons could also walk into the mansion itself and marvel at the beauty of the historic building, which Sackett describes as “a hidden gem.” There was even a smaller and more intimate stage in the mansion itself, a favorite of Binghamton University student Nina Pietrangeli, a junior majoring in biology. Pietrangeli explained how local music and house shows are intrinsic to the Binghamton experience, and said it was enjoyable to support local history and music at the same time.
“The whole event has such an awesome aura, with the mansion’s beauty and the most talented local musicians, business owners and community leaders pulling off such a fun and beneficial experience,” Pietrangeli said. “I just love stuff like this, and I would tell anyone who hasn’t gone to house shows or events like these, ‘What are you waiting for?’”
Sackett is hopeful for another rendition of the event next year, but wants people to know that anybody can rent out the Kilmer Mansion for any event throughout the year.
More information about the Kilmer Mansion can be found at kilmermansion.org or Kilmer Mansion on Facebook.