For more than five decades, the Tour of Homes sponsored by the Women’s Fellowship of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Menomonie has been a holiday event that many people look forward to each year. Set for Saturday, Dec. 2 from noon to 4 p.m., the theme for the 54th tour is “Gifts of Love.”

Each stop on the tour, including the church, is extensively decorated in the Christmas spirit. A map is printed on each ticket and plenty of signs will be posted to show where to go.

The first tour home, at E7207 430th Ave., belongs to Jody and Tony Lemke. Built in 2002 by Jody’s parents, the Wendts, this two-story house features high ceilings and large windows with lovely views of the countryside. The warm, welcoming home will be decorated for the holidays with a country theme and a collection of owl decorations. Three generations now live in the home, and there will be a special cowboy Christmas tree in memory of Jody’s mom, Geri Wendt, in the lower level.

The second home is owned by Becky and Bob Hendrickson and located at 1706 August Lane. This energy efficient bermed house was built in 1986 and has many unique features, including solar tubes in the kitchen and both bathrooms. Visitors to the home will see six Christmas trees with various motifs such as Swedish ornaments, family ornaments, red and white ornaments, and a special tree that displays a collection of all handmade, handpainted ornaments. The home is also decorated throughout with more than 60 Nativity sets.

The third decorated home is Vicki and Richard Jaeger‘s house at N6924 513th Street. Built in 2006, this walkout ranch features many collections of antiques and family heirlooms, Vicki’s Precious Moments and crystal bell collections, and Rich’s rock collection from their many travels. There will be numerous Christmas trees throughout the house, including the largest tree on display in the three season porch, and many vintage decorations from years past.

At the First Congregational Church (420 Wilson Ave., Menomonie), visitors will find the gift shop, with wonderful gifts such as scarves, mittens, aprons, and holiday decor made by church members, and the SERRV table, a marketplace for fair trade, handmade products from around the world. The lower level of the church houses the popular Gifts from the Kitchen and the Bake Shop, which feature delicious homemade pies, breads, candy, snack mixes, Christmas baking, and other treats.

Everyone is invited to stop into the elegantly decorated Tea Room in the Fellowship Hall to enjoy homemade cookies and a cup of Russian Tea or coffee in a relaxing atmosphere with live holiday music. Refreshments are included in the cost of the ticket and represent the talents of many church members, young and old.

There will also be raffle items, all handmade by church members and friends of the church in the Tea Room. Items include a trio of paintings by Mary Burkett, a stitched fiber painting by Jill Noreen, and a basket of crafted treasures from Artzgirlz. Raffle tickets will be sold at the church, $1 a ticket or 6 for $5.

The tour is the major funding raising activity of the Women’s Fellowship and preparations for the tour take place all year long. Advance tickets ($5) are available from any woman in the church and from the church office, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. They can also be purchased in advance at Dick’s Fresh Market, Estate Emporium, and La Dee Dah gift shop. Tickets can be purchased on the day of the tour ($6) at the church or at any tour house.

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Dunn County News editor

Barbara Lyon is the editor of The Dunn County News in Menomonie, WI.

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