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Over-the-top holiday décor on view in home tour

11/15/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

The Sugar Plum Tour allows ticket holders to see some of Akron’s finest homes decorated for the Christmas season, as shown above from last year’s tour.
Photo courtesy of Vision Video
WEST AKRON — If it’s extreme holiday decorating you like, the Sugar Plum Tour delivers.

The 11th annual tour of homes is planned for Dec. 2 from 2 to 5:30 p.m., and Chairman Steve Williams, of West Akron, said participants won’t be disappointed.

“We stress major, over-the-top, lavish decorating,” said Williams, who is working with co-chair Brighid Hillmuth, of West Akron. “People respond to that, and they’ve come to expect really big things from the tour.”

The tour features five distinctive homes embellished with holiday decorations. The owners have volunteered use of the homes for the tour, which attracts more than 600 people annually, Williams said.

Tourgoers provide their own transportation and begin at Angel Falls Coffee in Highland Square.

Williams said the tour features new homes every year. The names of owners and addresses are provided only to tourgoers that day.

Among the standout properties on the tour this year, Williams said, is a home on Merriman Road that was the wife’s family home.

“Her parents were collectors of art and a lot of things,” Williams said. “She has carried on the traditions she grew up with and added to them. They decorate all four floors for Christmas.”

Another impressive home is on West Market Street and was designed by the same architect who designed the O’Neil House on West Exchange Street, Williams said.

“It’s a really cool house,” he added.

This year for the first time one of the tour homes is located in Norton, near the Winery at Wolf Creek.

“It’s a wonderful old farmhouse that has been restored,” Williams said. “It’s truly something to see.”

That house also will feature a local public official who will appear as the tour’s celebrity Santa Claus, Williams said.

“That’s something new we’re doing,” he said. “We don’t want people to miss this house.”

The tour is a fundraiser for the Gay Community Endowment Fund (GCEF), a permanent philanthropic endowment at the Akron Community Foundation that facilitates and supports programs and services that benefit and promote the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, as well as the Greater Akron community collectively. To date, the GCEF has awarded in excess of $150,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations, including the Akron Art Museum, Battered Women’s Shelter, Community AIDS Network, Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron, Jewish Family Services of Akron, Summa Foundation DOVE Program, Violet’s Cupboard, Mobile Meals, Portage Path Community Mental Health Center and the Rape Crisis Center, according to organizers.

Tickets for the Sugar Plum Tour are $25 and are available by calling 330-376-8522 or online at www.sugarplumtour.org. Tickets also will be available the day of the tour at Angel Falls Coffee.

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