LAURINBURG — The 35th Annual Laurinburg Junior Service League Christmas Tour of Homes will bring locals out of their Thanksgiving turkey-induced stupor to look forward to Christmas with several examples of well-decked halls.
The junior league’s primary annual fundraiser, the tour will be held on Dec. 1 with a morning session from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and an evening tour from 6-9 p.m.
This year’s tour will feature six homes located throughout Laurinburg, from the 1910 plantation-style home of Col. Paul and Carol Tate on East Church Street to the Gilchrist Drive home of Hugh and Susan McArn, whose modern glass atrium creates a distinct statement in the neighborhood.
“Everybody got a call from me asking if they were willing to be on the tour, and people were just gracious enough to take it on: it’s so much work to decorate your house and we were really lucky this year that the houses are so unique,” said event co-chair Melanie Nichols.
“Col. Tate’s house is just phenomenal; it’s over a century old and looks like the original house: the hand-painted ceilings and hand-painted walls in the dining room and music room belong in Buckingham Palace. They’re just gorgeous.”
All proceeds from the tour support the junior service league’s charitable contributions to the community, both to established agencies and through assistance to needy families and individuals. This year, the league has given to Habitat for Humanity, children in Scotland County foster care, the Scotland County Humane Society, the Scotland County Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center, Scotland County Literacy Council, Project In As Much, the Covington Street Elementary running club, Church Community Services, and Stop Hunger Now.
In 2014, the tour raised $9,000, and the junior league expects this year’s event to eclipse it.
“We’re always open to requests,” Nichols said. “We look around to see if we can find where there’s a need, and anywhere we can find a need, we’re going to give to them. If a teacher were to come to us and say they saw a couple of kids at the bus stop in short sleeves without a coat, we’ll go buy them a coat.”
Each home on the tour will be a showcase of their residents’ family, history, and decorating taste, and those participating in the morning tour will have the chance to pick up a few decorating tips. A workshop will be provided at the Dornoch Circle home of Andrew and Stacey Walker in making large Christmas boughs, and at the home of Eric and Teresa Locklear, Jenny McRae will hold a flower arrangement tutorial.
The Locklear home is a return attraction from the 2014 tour, and this year fans of the decorations will have the option to take some home, as each of the 13 Christmas trees decorated by Teresa Locklear will be available for sale.
Festive music will usher tour attendees through each home, with Eli Raybon, Matthew Morgan, Mary Louise Baker, Allison McLean, and the Sandhills Consort among the musicians. A sampling of dishes from local sources — 215 on Main, Frances Willis and Wild Flour Catering, and Sweet Expressions at the Gill House — will be provided along with apple cider and hot chocolate at the Carmichael home on Sterling Lane.
Those seeking to satisfy a sweet tooth or take a break from holiday cooking need look no further than the Junior Service League’s Holiday Kitchen. Items from cakes, pies, soups, jams, candies, and preserves will be homemade by junior league members and sold at Brady’s Flowers during the tour
“We really focus on casseroles that you can freeze,” Nichols said. “A lot of people like those because you can buy a frozen casserole and when people come over for Christmas, you already have something homemade. It just takes one thing off of your list during the holidays.”
Tour tickets will include a full listing of homes and may be purchased for $15 at Shirt Tales, Brady’s Flowers, Bob’s Jewel Shop, Harley’s Tuxedo and Gifts, Red Willow Hair Studio, Haney’s Tire Service, Scottish Pines, and Bill Evans Printing. On the day of the tour, tickets will be available at Brady’s Flowers.
Sponsors of this year’s Laurinburg Junior Service League Tour of Homes include: Smithfield Hog Production Division – West Region, 215 on Main, Brady’s Flowers, Bob’s Jewel Shop, Charles Craft, Comfort Inn of Laurinburg/Wooly McDuff’s Neighborhood Grille, Earl’s Electrical Heating and Air, FCC, G104 Radio, Granville Financial, Haney’s Tire Service, KFC and Pizza Inn, Nic’s Pic Kwik, Nationwide – Melody M. Norton, Scottish Pines Rehab and Nursing, Sweet Expressions at The Gill House, and Wild Flour Catering.
Mary Katherine Murphy can be reached at 910-506-3169.