Homes tour was a holiday success
Sunday's ninth-annual Holiday Homes Tour was a record breaker, according to Debbie French-Morgan, organizer of the event.
"We had a great homes tour," said French-Morgan. "Best ever. We had 85 people. Our usual attendance in the past was 30 or 40. The weather was perfect and I think we got the word out better."
There were four homes on the tour, plus a return to the tour's roots with a holiday table setting display at Baker University's Collins House. The display had been a mainstay of the tour, but hadn't been a part of it for a few years. The Baldwin Community Arts Council put the table displays together.
"I think what also helped was we worked in conjunction with the arts council," she said. "We had the table settings. I think that helped with attendance. I think it helps to work with other groups."
Checks are still coming in from the tour, but French-Morgan said more than $600 was raised and it will be split between the BCAC and the Lumberyard Arts Center Project. The event is sponsored each year by Stephens Real Estate as a community project.
"It's a time for fellowship. A time to visit," she said. "They all seemed to gather at the Collins House. It was very successful. We're very happy about it. It's a great cause."
The benefactors were also pleased.
"We are thrilled with the turnout for the homes tour and grateful to Stephens Real Estate for sponsoring the event," said Kathy Dorsey, president of the BCAC. "Stephens has been an excellent supporter of community events and especially the arts council. The homes tour was a delightful event to celebrate the season."
Sandy Cardens, one of the lead players in the LACP, was also happy with the tour's success.
"I went on the tour and was really pleased with the number of attendees that I saw in the different homes," said Cardens. "I do think the fabulous weather had something to do with the attendance, but I did notice a lot of new faces and met a number of new Baldwin City residents who have probably not been on the tour in the past."
Cardens is a veteran of the tours and thinks the reintroduction of the Collins House to it made a difference.
"I was also very pleased with the attendance at the Collins House and for those who saw the Art of Holiday Setting sponsored by the arts council," she said. "I think the fact that the Collins House was also open helped considerably as did the fact that we stopped it for a few years after attendance began to dwindle. It appears that people are ready to see it all again."
The homes on the tour were: 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 involved praised the owners.
"The houses on the tour were beautiful and it was great to see their holiday decor," said Cardens. "The Lumberyard Arts Center is grateful to Stephens Real Estate for sponsorship of the event and their donation of the proceeds to the LACP and to the Baldwin Community Arts Council.
"We are extremely grateful for the community members who came out Sunday and made this so successful," she said.