VPT Downton Abbey

ESSEX, Vt. — The television phenomenon that is "Downton Abbey" on PBS's "Masterpiece" has viewers relishing the Dowager Countess's every barb, worrying about the future of Anna and Bates, and anticipating fireworks when Shirley MacLaine joins the cast in Season 3. On Saturday, Jan. 5, Vermont Public Television will hold a festive fundraising event with the help of a generous group of area businesses and colleges.

The Essex Resort & Spa in Essex, Vt., is co-host of VPT's Experience inspired by "Downton Abbey" and the site where fans of the show will gather on the eve of the new season. Guests will enjoy a culinary, cultural and social event with the flavor of England in the Roaring '20s, the period in which the next season takes place. All ticket packages include a British tea reception and an advance public screening of the Season 3 premiere on Vermont's largest screen in the T-Rex Theater at the Essex Cinemas.

Guests have the option of coming in the afternoon or evening on the 5th, and there are additional activities on Sunday the 6th. Most ticket packages offer access to a Downton-era arcade within the Essex featuring food and entertainment options such as a photo booth, etiquette games, a costume contest, live music and dancing - all happening throughout the event. Some packages include accommodations and even a personal footman.

The Essex Resort & Spa's master chef Arnd Sievers and executive chef Shawn Calley will create a period menu that includes food "shoppes," as well as a sumptuous six-course dinner. 

Champlain College faculty members Suzanne Glover (Graphic Design), Nancy Kerr (Communications), Eric Sample (Sonic Arts) and Peter Straube (Event Management) are guiding student interns in graphic design, publicity, social media and event production. The Senior Project Class in the department of Graphic Design, taught by Deborah Kehoe of Kehoe + Kehoe Design Associates, has created the identity for "VPT's Experience inspired by Downton Abbey" and will design advertising, print pieces and installations. A student in the department of Emerging Media is developing a microsite.

Individual students interning on the project are Camille Dodson, Olivia Pratt, Katherine Brockway, James Wicks, Teresa Coathup and Evan Morrell.

Eons Creative, LLC, of Manchester Center, Vt., is producing the event for VPT. "Collaboration, participation and sponsorship are vital components of an event this size, and we are grateful for the support of the region's businesses and institutions," said Michael Ellenbogen, a founder of Eons Creative. "We love creating experiences like this one, where people can have fun and help VPT continue to broadcast "Downton Abbey" and provide all the programs and services viewers treasure.

"Tickets and information are available at www.vpt.org/downton, https://www.facebook.com/DAExp, or by calling Chuck Bongiorno at (802) 654-3663.

Media contact: Ann Curran at (802) 655-8059, acurran@vpt.org


Founded in 1878, Champlain College is a small, not-for-profit, private college in Burlington, Vermont, with additional campuses in Montreal, Quebec and Dublin, Ireland. Champlain offers a traditional undergraduate experience from its beautiful campus overlooking Lake Champlain and over 60 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs and certificates. Champlain's distinctive career-driven approach to higher education embodies the notion that true learning occurs when information and experience come together to create knowledge. Champlain College is included in the Princeton Review's The Best 379 Colleges: 2015 Edition. Champlain was named a "Top-Up-and-Coming School" by U.S. News & World Report's America's Best Colleges and is ranked in the top tier of 2014 Regional Colleges in the North. For more information, visit www.champlain.edu.