Holiday house tour

November 22, 2000

Holiday house tour

By MEG H. PARTINGTON / Staff Writer

see also: Holiday house tour: The homes

Holiday house tour sponsored by North Hagerstown High School class of 2002

When: Sunday, Dec. 3, 1 to 4 p.m.

Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 the day of the tour. For advance tickets, call 301-766-8238 or 301-797-7210. Tickets are available at Lehmans Mill, 19933 Lehmans Mill Road, Hagerstown. Tickets also will be sold at each home on the tour.

In case of bad weather, call 301-797-7210 for information.

The junior class at North Hagerstown High School has taken door-to-door fund raising to a new level.

On Sunday, Dec. 3, from 1 to 4 p.m., the class is sponsoring a holiday house tour that will allow the public to go room to room in nine Hagerstown homes.

"They're really glad we're doing something besides selling candy bars," said junior class adviser Josh Hayes, referring to people in the community. The students have done traditional fund-raisers, including washing cars, and selling candles, cookie dough and lollipops, but this is new territory.


"It's a unique fund-raising event," said Lynne Smigelski, who is opening her home for the tour. Her daughter, Jessie, is a member of the junior class.

Those who participate in the tour can visit any of the nine featured houses. They don't have to be viewed in order.

There will be signs in front of the homes bearing the number each was assigned. The numbers are shown on a brochure people will be given when tickets are purchased.

Visitors are asked not to wear high heels. Booties will be provided at each house to cover people's shoes in case of inclement weather.

The organizers

Between 20 and 30 students from the approximately 400-member class, as well as parents and other adults from the community, are on the committee that organized the tour.

Brittani Love-Wehrle, 16, one of the students on the committee, said there have been "a lot of meetings" to plan the event, the idea for which she credited to parents and Hayes.

Juniors often gathered before school, then there were evening meetings with parents and homeowners.

The goal?

"To get a lot of money for prom so we can be prepared," Brittani said.

Letters and calls went out to more than 75 homeowners asking if they'd be willing to put their houses on display, said Hayes, who teaches government and sociology at North Hagerstown High School and is also the assistant wrestling coach there.

This year's inaugural tour features homes built from the 1760s to 1999.

"Every single house has neat features," said Dusty Graham, a member of the committee and mother of junior Megan Graham.

Junior Christopher Joliet, 16, said he would like to help plan a house tour next year to raise money for a senior class trip.

Hayes said he also would like the class to sponsor a similar fund-raiser again next year, then pass it on to the next senior class.

No more putting off projects

The holiday tour gave Carol Austin and Carole Shearer an excuse to tend to their own homes.

Austin, an interior designer, and Shearer, a decorative painter, usually focus their creativity on others' houses.

"My house gets left behind," said Shearer.

A deadline to make their houses into exhibits of sorts lit a fire under many of the homeowners.

"All the stuff that's on my list to get done sometime might get done," Austin said with a laugh. Among the projects she hoped to complete before the tour were window treatments and cabinetry, and remodeling the study. She hopes to get the carpet on the stairs cleaned and she might even spray her chandelier so it sparkles.

Smigelski said she is inspired to finish making her window treatments, and Shearer put the finishing decorative touches on her kitchen.

Denise Remavege will have several Christmas trees on display in her house and is making a centerpiece for her dining room. She makes her own ornaments every year.

"It's what I love to do," said Remavege, whose daughter Brae is a junior. Some of the homemade ornaments on her trees will feature seashells and cornhusks with magnolia blooms inside.

Remavege likes to work with fresh elements, though she said she will "cheat" this year and intertwine her real garland with some artificial.

Donna and Paul Toothman's son Jeremy is coming home from Tennessee for Thanksgiving and will decorate their house in Christmas finery before the tour.

"He has all these ideas," Donna Toothman said.

Being around do-it-yourselfers while organizing the tour inspired Graham.

"I got the gumption to redo my bathroom," she said.

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