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Todd House has new owners, will host Christmas on Main Sat.

Jenni and Allen Strickland, with son Briggs, at The Todd House. (Deuce Niven, TLT)


     It almost seems like a Christmas miracle, the return of The Todd House a year after the iconic former boarding house and restaurant closed its doors.

     An event center is coming to the property, but first the rebirth will be marked by the second annual Christmas on Main festivities this Saturday, with everything this year in one location inside the former dining hall. No weather worries this time.

     Allen Strickland Investments recently purchased The Todd House property. His wife Jenni Strickland will be managing the event center. She has already set up her photography business, Jenni Strickland Photography, upstairs in The Todd House, which will maintain its historic name.

     Included in the purchase, from foreclosure, is the two story main building, the parking lot across Live Oak Street, even the property on which The Fred E. Lay North Carolina Yam Festival stage rests.

     “I want to be clear,” Allen said. “The Yam Festival will continue to have the use of the stage. I’m going to be making repairs to it, it needs some attention.”

Christmas on Main

     Blue Byrd Café owner Pam Byrd, who spearheaded the inaugural Christmas on Main event in 2018, will have a role at The Todd house, both Allen and Jenni said.

     “Pam will be on the staff,” Allen said. “She will definitely be involved.”

     Blue Byrd Café will be available to cater events inside The Todd House, too, but Allen said Byrd’s creative energy will help attract business.

     That creative energy will be on display from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. during this Saturday’s Christmas on Main, starting with brunch with Santa and Mrs. Claus, photo opportunities with Santa, decorating cookies, and a showing of the movie “Polar Express.”

     “We’ve got 21 vendors coming, too,” Jenni said, “for last minute Christmas shopping.”

     There is no admission charge, but brunch, catered by Blue Byrd Café, will cost $8. Photos with Santa will be $5.

     Like last year, North Carolina Yam Festival Queens will be on duty as Santa’s Elves.

     “It’s wonderful that we’ll be able to keep Christmas on Main, and to have it all in one place and inside,” Byrd said. “I’m so thankful Allen and Jenni have bought The Todd House and made this happen. They are so community oriented. Anything I have ever asked them to do for the community, they have done it.”

     See more of this story, and much more on area holiday events, in this week’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.