Gov. Sean Parnell and First Lady Sandy Parnell welcomed Juneau residents to their home Wednesday in the annual Christmas open house, while Juneau residents welcomed the Parnells to Juneau.
"Thanks for supporting Juneau," Wendy Nelson told the governor, as thousands lined up to greet the governor newly elected to a fullterm of his own after stepping in as governor last year.
"The people of Juneau have been very warm and hospitable in welcoming us to Juneau," Sean Parnell said.
"For the governor and first lady to be able to open the house to the public is really significant, it's our chance to provide that access to the house that's part of Alaska history," he said.
Nelson, with long ties to Juneau and other Southeast communities, said she's happy the governor has been supportive of Southeast and all regions of the state even though he comes from Anchorage.
Welcoming the horde of visitors were tables laden with cookies and fudge, including pecan tartlets, frosted butter cookies, chocolate dipped biscotti and even chocolate ship pumpkin cranberry cookies, and dozens of others.
"I like cookies," said Annie Hagelberg, who appeared as eager as the children she was baby-sitting to fill a plate with treats.
All total there were about 24,000 cookies, Parnell said, along with 100 pounds of fudge and 100 pounds of candy.
"Plenty of sugar for all," he said, thanks to the work of Alaska Fudge Company and Abby's Kitchen.
Also there for the cookies was Alanna Sharclane, there with her "big sister" Morgan Hopson, a legislative aide.
"The cookies are great," said Sharclane, while Juneau native Hopson said she appreciated the Parnells' reaching out to the community.
Even before visitors got into the house, they were welcomed with hot cider and cookies served up by the state's commissioners to those waiting in line outside.
"I think its really cool that we're in a place where the governors do this," said Stan Love. He showed up early to tour the mansion before his choir group performed for those waiting in line.
The tradition of an open house began 99 years ago, but skipped a few years during World War II.
Parnell family stockings hung on the mantle, and this year Sandy Parnell said she was already been dropping very strong hints about what she wants for Christmas.
"I'd like good speakers to plug into my computer because I don't like listening to headphones," Sandy Parnell said.
"I think I'm supposed to say 'peace on earth, good will to all,'" Sean Parnell said.
Sandy Parnell said that's what she meant to say as well.
Contact reporter Pat Forgey at 523-2250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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