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2011 Benedict Castle Lighting in Riverside

This year at Benedict Castle, in Riverside, we will celebrate the start of the Holiday Season with the lighting of the Castle on November 27th, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

This is our 18th annual event and each year the community is invited for a FREE festive evening.  The Castle will be decorated outside with flowers, lights, trees and garlands.  Inside we will have a large Christmas tree and other festive decorations.  The beautiful life size Fontanini Nativity scene will also be on display.  There will be tours of the Castle every 20 minutes and an informative historical display.  We will have a fire in the fireplace, cookies, refreshments and beautiful music.  The Kilgon pipe organ, originally installed in the Castle in the 30s, will be played.  Additionally we will have the Dickens Choir, Village Carolers and the Teen Challenge choir singing thought out the evening. The live Nativity introduced last year is even more spectuliar.

We are inviting our Inland Empire neighbors to help us restore our Stain Glass Windows in the foyer. The damage is caused by the age of the windows.  Donations will be accepted for this extensive project.  A donation letter will be given upon request.

Last year over 3200, people enjoyed this special family event and we hope our neighbors and friends will again enjoy the evening with us.

Teen Challenge of Riverside
5445 Chicago Ave.
Riverside, CA 92507

Benedict Castle Holiday of Light

The eighteenth annual Benedict Castle Christmas Holiday of Light will be held on November 27, 2011 from 6 to 8 P.M, at5445 Chicago Ave, Riverside CA(951-682-8990).  This open house is free to the public and features the exterior lighting of the Castle and the beautiful interior decorations designed by members of the Teen Challenge Ladies Guild. In addition, there is a live Nativity; Christmas Carols sung by a Dickens Choir and the Teen Challenge Choir and played on the Castle’s rare Kilgon pipe organ (the last of the original furnishings) will entertain the public. Castle tours will run every 20minutes. All are invited to purchase a cappuccino, Hot Chocolate or Gourmet Apple.

Charles Benedict began construction of Benedict Castle in 1922 after he and his second wife Carlotta toured Alhambra Castlein Granada, Spain while on their honeymoon.  Many of the features of the castle were taken directly from Alhambra Castle. Construction stopped after the two were divorced and began again in 1926 when he married his third wife Louise Potter.  The break in construction allowed the castle to be completed using new construction methods.  As a result the front part of the $300,000 castle is constructed of adobe bricks while the back portion is built of re-enforced concrete. The 10,000 foot residence hosted flamboyant parties with friends like Frank Miller (builder of the historic Mission Inn) and Jack Warner of Warner Brothers. Benedict died in 1938 and his wife lived in the residence until 1952 when it was sold to Riverside businessmen for $52,000.

For three years the Castle became the setting for a variety of social events until it was sold to the Servite Order of the Catholic Church for use as a Seminary. Dramatic steps were taken during the Sixties when the Servite Fathers opened the Castle doors to the public for art festivals, musical programs, social and fund raising events. They even allowed the filming of suchHollywoodmovies as Hunchback of Notre Dame, Bride of Frankenstein, Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein and Two On A Guillotine with Connie Stevens.

In 1971, the Servite Fathers sold the Castle to Teen Challenge who continues to use the Castle for fund raising, social gatherings (such as weddings and banquets) and the Christmas Lighting Open House.

Teen Challenge of Southern California is part of an international Christian program providing cost free assistance to people with life controlling problems.  Started inNew Yorkin 1958, Teen Challenge has grown to become the largest non-profit charitable endeavor of its kind with 360 centers in 70 countries. Each center independently supports itself through donations and work projects.  Additionally they provide community service by cleaning the Veterans Cemetery and working at the Riverside Community Events.

The Christmas decorations are donated and are put up each year for the men’s Christmas party hosted by the Ladies Guild.  For many of the men in the Teen Challenge program the Ladies Guild Christmas party is an emotional event as they have not celebrated Christmas for many years and they greatly appreciate the gifts that the ladies acquire through donations. The Benedict Castle Holiday of Light event grew out of this yearly Christmas event.

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