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Chester County Press

Find out whodunit in Kennett Square

07/23/2019 09:33AM ● By J. Chambless

Participants gather clues as they meet suspects at locations around Kennett Square.

There’s murder afoot in downtown Kennett Square on Aug. 2 as members of the Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society (KATS) spin the tale of “The Mystery of Snow White’s Family Reunion.”

In this audience-participation, cross-town caper, participants meet the detective at the scene of the crime in Sycamore Alley to gather clues, question murder suspects in participating downtown locations, and attempt to identify the murderer and solve the mystery. Prizes will be awarded to random winners.

To take part in the free event, just pick up a map with participating locations, general suspect information, and a worksheet from the detective. Participants will investigate the murder by determining holes in suspect stories by using the questions, answers and clues provided by the detective, actors playing murder suspects, and other suspicious characters. Suspects, denoted by costumes and potential murder weapons, will be stationed at various locations in downtown Kennett Square.

Additional suspicious characters will walk around town with clues available for purchase (proceeds benefit the theater group). Winners will be randomly selected and awarded prizes at the end of the evening. Participants do not have to be present at the 6:45 p.m. improvisation to participate in the mystery. Participation is free, and all ages are welcome to take part.

The evening begins at 6:45 p.m., when everyone meets in the Sycamore Alley Walkway (next to La Verona, across the street from Farmers Market) just before 6:45 p.m. Detectives will show you the body and issue instructions. From 7 to 8:15 p.m., you can stroll through town, interviewing suspects and marking clues on your game sheet. At 8:15, hand in your checklists at the KATS table and assemble in the Genesis Walkway to hear the conclusion of the caper.

The plot has considerable backstory:

Jürgen Schneeweiss arrived in the colony of New Sweden in February of 1643, five years after the Kalmar Nyckel had brought the first Swedish and Finnish settlers to the area. He had come from Stockholm aboard the Swan, along with the new Governor, Johan Printz. He was originally from Saxony, and had no doubt found himself in Stockholm as a result of the Thirty Years War. 

Almost immediately upon arrival, Jürgen married a Finnish woman (a large portion of the population of the Colony of New Sweden were Finns from the central forests of Sweden.)   Jürgen and his family managed to survive the sickness, food shortages and skirmishes with the Dutch that plagued the colony until it was finally surrendered to the Dutch in 1655, and then again later to the English, with the land grant to William Penn in 1681. 

One of the ways that Jürgen adapted to the changing politics of the region was to first change his name to Joran Snovit, the Swedish equivalent of his German name, and then again to George Snowhite to Anglicize it.

Because of his early arrival in the New World he was able to accumulate land that was held by his family for generations. When the family began to divest itself of the Chester area properties in the mid-19th century, they accumulated a considerable fortune.  To manage this fortune, the various branches of the family formed the Snowwhite Family Foundation.

In the 376 years since the arrival of Jürgen Schneeweiss in North America, the generations that have come after have spread his family tree through thousands of branches and hundreds of thousands of descendants across the entire country. Many branches have managed to maintain a level of contact through an annual family reunion.  This year, the annual reunion is being hosted by Isaac and Rachel Wetherill on their farm outside of Kennett Square. 

In advance of the reunion scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 2 to 4, the board of the Snowhite Family Foundation has gathered in Kennett Square. On the Friday night before the big reunion, a number of those that have gathered in the area have ventured into Kennett Square for Art Stroll festivities, the shops, music and dining.  Unfortunately, tragedy has struck the family gathering for this year.  At 6:30 p.m., the body of Neve Bianca Scontroso, the board chair, will be found in the Genesis Walkway. What secrets lie within the family histories and connections of these descendants of George Snowhite that could have caused someone to commit this brutal crime?

It’s up to you to find out – and to explore downtown Kennett Square in the process!

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