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Group Members Star in “Murder at the Mansion”
When a just-for-fun murder takes place at Falcon Rest Mansion in McMinnville, Tenn., it’s the tour group members in the audience who are the real stars of the show. The interactive “whodunit” assigns them real characters from 1897, then turns them loose to ad-lib to their hearts’ content. Needless to say, it never comes out exactly the same way twice. But it always lives up to Falcon Rest’s reputation as “the Victorian mansion where history is fun.”
"Murder at the Mansion," takes place during a delicious meal served in Falcon Rest's Victorian Carriage House dining room. The show is set at an elegant dinner party given in 1897 by “Gorilla Pants” manufacturer Clay Faulkner and his wife Mary, celebrating completion of their new mansion. The guest list includes the extended Faulkner family and a variety of McMinnville notables from 1897, along with nationally prominent individuals such as President William McKinley, Rev. Sam Jones, Susan B. Anthony, and Annie Oakley. To Mrs. Faulkner’s dismay, a town drunk and the local madam could show up as well.
Falcon Rest actors play Mr. and Mrs. Faulkner and their faithful cook Mag. When audience members arrive, they’re given signs identifying their characters with historical details on the back. There are no lines to remember or pressure to participate, so they’re free to interact in character with the Falcon Rest players as much or as little as they like. Mr. Faulkner carries on an impromptu conversation with his guests during the banquet, and they can be counted on to come up with some pretty hilarious dialogue.
When a dastardly murder mars the celebration, audience members help special guest star Buffalo Bill Cody discover which one of them is the culprit.
"This is a great way to enjoy a delicious meal and rib-tickling entertainment, while learning about actual 1890s history," said Mr. Faulkner's alter-ego George McGlothin, better known as The Victorian Gentleman.
After the meal is completed and the murder is solved, guests are treated to a tour of the Falcon Rest Mansion, which Clay and Mary Faulkner really did complete in 1897. Called Tennessee's Biltmore by PBS, the 10,000 square foot, solid-brick mansion had all the modern conveniences when it was built, including electric lights, indoor plumbing, central heat and air, and even a telephone. Today, it is furnished with museum quality antiques, and some say Mr. Faulkner stays on in the form of a friendly ghost. Visitors also enjoy shopping for 1890s souvenirs in Falcon Rest’s Victorian Gift Shop.
McMinnville is in the heart of the Nashville-Chattanooga-Knoxville triangle, 30 minutes from I-24 or I-40, so it’s an easy food-and-fun stop for any group traveling in Middle Tennessee. For details, call 931-668-4444 or visit online at www.falconrest.com.
2645 Faulkner Springs Rd. | McMinnville, TN 37110 | 931-668-4444 | email@example.com