Homes Tour ready for ninth run
In its nine years on the Baldwin City holiday slate, the Holiday Homes Tour has benefited various local projects and always provided Yuletide cheer with different venues and events.
This year's version, sponsored as usual by Stephens Real Estate, is no exception. It is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and last through 5 p.m. Sunday at various locations, most new to the tour, but one that returns after several years of being absent.
This year's tour will benefit the Lumberyard Arts Center Project, which was the sole benefactor last year. In addition this year, proceeds will also go to the Baldwin Community Arts Council's scholarship fund. The two art efforts are separate, although many don't understand that.
Stephens' Debbie French-Morgan said the agency wanted to support both the project to restore the downtown lumberyard into a home for the arts and the BCAC's annual scholarship program which goes to Baldwin High School graduates.
"From the ticket sales, all the funds go to the Baldwin Community Arts Council and the Lumberyard Arts Center Project," said French-Morgan. "When the Lumberyard Arts Center Project came up, I thought it was a good thing to support. It's a community service contribution for us back to the community."
Sandy Cardens, one of the leaders of the LACP, is pleased the homes tour will benefit the project again, as well as help with the BCAC's education efforts.
"We are delighted to be included, along with the Baldwin Community Arts Council, as a recipient of the proceeds of the Stephens Real Estate sponsored Homes Tour on Sunday," Cardens said. "We hope everyone will buy tickets, take the tour and make this a really successful event for Baldwin City's arts community."
Kathy Dorsey, president of the BCAC, agreed.
"The BCAC would like to encourage people to take this opportunity to view the beautiful homes in our area and to be sure to stop in at the lumberyard to stock up on presents created by our own local artists," said Dorsey, adding in the BCAC's annual Holiday Arts Sale from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. "The BCAC is pleased that Stephens is donating the money made from the tour to benefit both organizations.
"The BCAC and the LACP have much in common and work together often to encourage participation in the arts," she said.
As for the return to the tour, Baker University President Pat Long will open the Collins House, where she resides with her husband, Dennis, for the holiday table setting display as well as refreshments. It used to be a standard of the tour, but has been missing for the last several years. It is designed as the last stop after touring the other homes. In the past, only the annex of the Collins House was open to the public, but Long will invite tour participants into the home portion of the house, too.
"We've never been in the private side of the Collins House," said French-Morgan. "The very first homes tour we did was in conjunction with the arts council with the table settings. Now, we've come back with this for people looking for ways to decorate their homes festively."
Cost of the tour is $8 and tickets are available at Stephens Real Estate, Baldwin State Bank, Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce, The Kansas State Bank, Mid-America Bank and at the door of the four homes on the tour.
Those homes are James and Tennille Murrey, 603 9th Street, James and Leslie White, 907 Jasara Circle, a newly constructed home at 1721 N. 150 Road and Three Sisters Inn, now owned by Kevin and Shawna Graber, 1035 Ames Street. All will be decorated lavishly for the holidays.
"For people who like to decorate, it gives them a chance to open their homes," said French-Morgan. "The Murreys will have a Texas tree. They're from Dallas. It will be interesting to see. I'm sure it will have lots of Texas ornaments on it."
For participants in the tour, it's all about the holidays, seeing how others are decorating and plenty of time to talk.
"It's the holidays," she said. "What I've found interesting with the tour, it's a chance for people to visit. There are a lot of the same people who come every year and there are newcomers. They take the time to visit. It's a busy time."