PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” Itâ€™s a chance to take a breather from shopping, to find some new ideas for holiday decorating, or a way to see how other local residents embrace and perpetuate their own Christmas traditions.
Thatâ€™s what the annual Holly Tour is all about, and it runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at six different locations in the Punxsy area (see the accompanying box on Page 3).
The tour, which is at least 20 years old, was first established by the former Young Womenâ€™s Club, of which Katie Laska, who owns Laskaâ€™s Pizza and Caterinaâ€™s Dolce Cucina, was a member.
When that group disbanded a few years ago, the tour needed a new sponsor, so Laska took it to the Board of Directors of the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center, which has hosted it ever since.
â€śWe look for someone who loves Christmas and loves to decorate for Christmas, and the traditions they bring to their families over the years,â€ť she said. â€śOther people can see and maybe start traditions of their own. Some people have lost their own traditions.â€ť
The homeowners on the tour each bring something different to Christmas themes, whether they display numerous trees in different settings, or various collections, such as villages, Nativity scenes, Santa figurines, etc.
â€śWeâ€™re highlighting how everyoneâ€™s take on the holidays is very different,â€ť said Mary Jean Johnston, project administrator at the Weather Discovery Center. â€śThereâ€™s no comparison among any of them; itâ€™s whatever everyone likes, and they can see collections, old family decorations and some new things.â€ť
Laska said those who take the tour will see that not everyone believes Christmas has only two colors â€”Â red and green â€” and sometimes, they may be surprised what colors people enjoy for their own holiday celebrations.
This year, there are five homes on the tour and one church, First United Methodist along West Mahoning Street.
Guests on the self-guided tour may visit each home at their own pace, so as one home doesnâ€™t find itself hosting a large number of guests at one time, Johnston said.
â€śChoose the route thatâ€™s most convenient for you,â€ť she said.
Guests should also be sure to remove their shoes at the various homes, or bring their own slippers or shoe covers for indoors.
Refreshments will be available at the First United Methodist Church, and one of the homes will host a 50/50 drawing.
Directions to each home are on the tickets, and red and green balloons will be at the front of each home to guide guests to the entrance.
Each guest on the tour must have a ticket. Tickets the day of the tour will be available at Laskaâ€™s Pizza, North Main Street.
Laska said if guests are impressed by this yearâ€™s tour, and would like to display their own homes during next yearâ€™s event, they are more than welcome to make their inquiries Saturday.
Proceeds from the tour benefit the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center.
HOLLY TOUR 2011
Locations â€” in no particular order â€” on this yearâ€™s Holly Tour are:
â€˘ Mr. and Mrs. Donald Barnett, 105 Rock Ridge Lane, Punxsy (Route 36 South).
â€˘ The First United Methodist Church, 301 West Mahoning St., Punxsy.
â€˘ Michele Lorenzo and Jan Zamperini, 709 East Mahoning St., Punxsy.
â€˘ Barclay Bed & Breakfast, 201 East Union St., Punxsy (behind Barclay Square).
â€˘ Bill and Linda Defelice, 19231 Route 119 Highway North, Punxsy (just before Joyceâ€™s Greenhouse).
â€˘ Bryan and Tracy Smith, 564 Wachob Dr., Punxsy (just past Smith Hauling, off Route 36 North).
The tour runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. All guests on the tour must have a ticket. Day-of-tour tickets will be available at Laskaâ€™s Pizza, North Main Street.