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Tour highlights decked out homes

House tour
Dec. 03, 2012 @ 08:45 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Sunday's steady rain was no match for Tri-Staters' desire to both contribute to a good cause and tour some lovely homes.

Arts Resources for the Tri-State hosted its annual Holiday Candlelight House Tour, showcasing eight homes throughout the Huntington area Sunday. Tickets were sold for the opportunity to see the homes, all looking their best for the holidays.

"This is needed in our area because there are so many beautiful homes, and who doesn't like to go through someone's home and look around," said Tera Grasser, first vice president for ARTS, who also said she hopes it helps raise awareness about the many offerings of ARTS.

Also part of the event was the Festival of Wreaths, held at First Sentry Bank. Various organizations in the community designed and donated wreaths to be sold, with the proceeds going toward ARTS. Among the popular wreaths were those made by T.K. Dodrill's Jewelers, the Big Sandy Superstore Arena and Hayflich & Grigoraci.

"People are having a great time. We're sloshing through," Jo Gibson said Sunday afternoon.

She not only bought a ticket to tour the homes, but donated a wreath and bought another wreath on Sunday.

"That's the way we do things in Huntington," said Gibson, director of Huntington's Hospitality House. "We have no deep wells, so we help each other."

Supporting ARTS is a tremendous cause, many said. Housed in the Renaissance Center, or the former Huntington High building, ARTS hosts theatrical performances and concerts, as well as offering various types of classes in the musical, performing and visual arts. It's also home to the Renaissance Art Gallery.

Holiday Candlelight House Tour and Festival of Wreaths are the premier fundraiser for ARTS.

"It's a good cause because it supports programs for children and adults in the arts -- all those things that make our community a quality arts community," said Michele Conley, chairwoman of the Festival of Wreaths. "People moving into the Huntington area want to know what's available for their families in the arts and the cultural realm."

It's wonderful that so many people contributed their time and talents and opened their homes for the event, said Dr. Bob Walker, who bought the holiday wreath donated by the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. The wreath came with free tickets to see Little Big Town and other upcoming events at the arena.

"I'm going to be honest -- it's a nice wreath, but I'm more about the tickets," he said. "It's a great deal and a great cause."

Mickey St. Clair had a steady stream of people into her Southside home Sunday as part of the tour. She hopes it helps ARTS, of which she is a board member. She appreciates the organization because of the many classes it offers, the plays that it puts on and the fact that it helped preserve the old high school. The building could use some extra cash, she said.

"They've given us a very high estimate to repair the furnace," she said.

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