Eight homeowners stretching across two counties will open their doors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday (Dec. 2) showcasing their holiday decorations to raise money for the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas.
This is the 14th year for the Winter Dream Home Tour. Organizers hope to sell 1,500 tickets although last year’s goal didn’t reach that high. Trying to find homeowners who want strangers gawking at the latest in holiday décor is the biggest challenge for this fundraiser. (Link here for a PDF of the tour homes.)
“It’s a lot of phone calls. I went through more than 100 homeowners to find eight,” said Melissa Werner.
She started working the phones in May with all the homes booked by the end of August.
For one homeowner on this year’s tour, that meant decorating for Christmas began in October. Some homeowners will be staying in their homes during the tour to discuss their decorating choices with tour-goers or to answer any questions.
“Some say ‘no’ because they don’t decorate in an elaborate way and the expectations might be too high,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be crazy and some homeowners are private and don’t want their home opened up in this way.”
This year, some homeowners aren’t being revealed to protect their privacy somewhat. While personal pictures may be put away for onlookers, there’s still plenty of holiday glitz and glamour to see.
Werner said the different ways the homeowners decorate is fascinating. She believes tour-goers get several ideas on how to decorate from the various homes.
“For instance, the Decker house has a German-feel and it will be interesting for people to see,” she said. “I personally like to see homes that have kids living there and what can be fun and cute to decorate.”
One home on the tour that’s expected to create a draw is owned by Elise Mitchell, CEO and president of Mitchell Communications Group. She is a former Junior League member who volunteered her home.
“It is lush and elaborate. She is a name in the community and many may want to see inside her home,” said Werner.
She explained the Decker home is one to see because it is located on Mount Sequoyah and the other homes located in Fayetteville are part of newer subdivisions with interesting architecture.
Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased in various stores as well as at any house located on the tour. It is self-guided and there is no particular order for the tour. The tickets will include directions to each home from Interstate 540 and also include a drink voucher to be used at the Winter Dreams After Party located at Legacy Blues in Fayetteville.
In years past, some have rented limos and made a day out of the tour.
“This is not a fundraiser most people attend alone,” said Werner. “My husband and mother go on the tour together. Most times it’s a mother-daughter event.”
This is one of the main fundraisers for the organization. While other events can be rain-checked, this isn’t one of them. Werner said, “The weather is cooperating. It was raining last year. It can be a stressor because you don’t know what the weather will do months from planning.”
The funds raised will go into a general fund for the league’s platforms for the Children’s House, the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter and Peace at Home and Family Shelter.