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No 'Marriage at the Mansion' this year

BEE STAFF REPORTS

Brides hoping to wear their wedding veil for the sixth annual "Marriage at the Mansion" event on Valentine's Day, you're out of luck. There won't be one.

Stanislaus County Clerk Lee Lundrigan, who also serves as the county's registrar of voters and commissioner of civil marriages, said her office will be too swamped processing ballots from next week's Super Tuesday presidential primary to oversee the details of couples tying the knot at McHenry Mansion this year.

"It's because of the presidential election. That's the primary goal and job of this office," she said Wednesday afternoon. "It takes approximately

28 days after the election" to count and verify all the ballots.

"The Valentine Mansion was a full-fledged event. We had dozens of volunteers. We'll need all of those efforts and all of those volunteers for the election this year. We have more elections this year than has ever been held in this county."

Seventy to 80 couples got hitched or renewed their vows in each of the past three years.

Lundrigan's office hosted the event, preregistered the couples for the ceremonies and sold licenses for the civil weddings. The news of the cancellation was given to the McHenry Museum board and docents this month.

"I think everybody enjoyed having it. We certainly enjoyed all the weddings," said Wayne Mathes, Modesto's cultural services manager who oversees the mansion and McHenry Museum. "Our docents liked it; we never had a problem getting volunteers to work on Valentine's Day."

But, he added, the county clerk's office did most of the work for the event.

"It's strictly her (Lundrigan's) call," Mathes said. "It was simply a scheduling thing on our part. It seemed perfectly logical to me (that they would cancel it because of the elections)."

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