The Christmas trees have been delivered and decorators are checking their lists as preparations ramp up for the Vankleek Hill Christmas Home Tour on Saturday, November 5.
The annual event, organized by The Review, shares proceeds with six not-for-profit community organizations, each of which provides volunteers to the event.
Volunteer numbers are up this year, due to the addition of a volunteer at the door of each home to speed up the process as visitors arrive at homes.
Volunteer coordinator Lisa Henderson of Hillcrest Funeral Home says that about 100 people are volunteering in connection with the homes on the tour.
But around town, other community members are involved organizing church luncheons, art shows and other special events.
Author Keith Henderson will be at St. John’s Anglican Church at 1 p.m. and again at 3 p.m. for a one-hour dramatic reading/presentation from his novel called “The Roof Walkers”. The book commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the Fenian Raids that sparked Confederation. The presentation will include Celtic harp music by ian hepburn.
At Arbor Gallery, the Christmas Small Works show will be underway from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring smaller works of art, jewellery and more for sale.
Each of the three church luncheons (at Knox Presbyterian Church, St. John’s Anglican Church and Trinity United Church) will feature music during the busiest noon-hour period.
“We really try to bring a holiday mood to the day and we are making special efforts to add music, because that’s part of the holidays, isn’t it?” says Sproule. Choirs, carols and holiday music will add to the festive mood, she says.
Entertainment includes jazz guitar, classical violin music, and choirs.
St. John’s Anglican Church hall will also have vendors and craft tables located inside the church hall.
At Knox Presbyterian Church, a quilt show will take place inside the church itself from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Knox Bell Choir will entertain in the Archie Hardy Hall (adjacent to the church) at 2:30 p.m. Coffee, tea and desserts will be available during the afternoon.
Sandra Fraser of the Trillium Tea Room is once again hosting a high tea with three sittings. You must reserve to attend one of the sittings; call 613-678-6892 to find out more about this culinary event, which is sold out every year.
New this year, St-Grégoire Catholic Church will be open as it hosts a display of Nativity Scenes. You are invited to add your Nativity Scene to the day by contacting Louise (Ouimet) McCulloch at 613-678-5895. A bake sale also takes place inside the church on that day. Amaryllis Choir will be giving a 30-minute concert at 11 a.m. and later in the day at 1 p.m., Voix-La will perform another mini-concert.
At 151 Main Street, author Susan Jephcott will be signing copies of her newly-released book, “The Tangerine Cat” and full-size works of art used in the book will be on exhibit on tour day. Jephcott will be receiving visitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Food vendors will be offering free samples at the homes during the afternoon and as usual, specialty vendors will be located outside each home for visitors as they wait to visit each home.
Because one of the six heritage homes is located a few minutes outside of Vankleek Hill, a fourth shuttle bus has been added this year, says organizer Louise Sproule. Bilingual step-on tour guides are on each bus to talk to visitors about our community, fill them in on the events of the day and answer questions. This year’s shuttle bus sponsors are Beau’s All-Natural Brewing Company, Re-Max Supreme (John Clouston), Total Telecom and Champlain Township.
Vankleek Hill photographer Jan Amell will once again be taking photographs of visitors as they don Victorian-era costumes. “This was so popular last year,” said Amell, who has decided to once again add to the holiday spirit of the event. Amell will be offering a light lunch at her premises.
Les Hatz of “Loud and Dirty” will be launching his new line of men’s skin products at an outdoor booth located beside the Windsor Tavern on Main Street.
You can find vendors outside and inside at the Vankleek Hill Museum.
The Vankleek Hill and District Horticultural Society, the Vankleek Hill and District Historical Society, 100% Actifs, the Vankleek Hill Collegiate Vimy Ridge trip, the Vankleek Hill Fiddle and Dance Association, the Vankleek Hill Sunshine Club and the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society were all chosen in a random draw held from all of the organizations which applied for funds, Sproule said.
This year’s decorators are: Carole and Stephanie Aubin of Vankleek Hill Home Hardware; Cottage Blue Home of Cornwall, Donna Doucette, Vankleek Hill; Sasha McKeown and Donna Czet, Vankleek Hill; Jill Crosby, L’Orignal, and Danielle Arbour (special events and marketing with Auberge des Gallants.
You can find out more about the event and buy advance tickets online at: www.vankleekhill.ca. Click on events, then select home tour. You can also visit The Review offices to buy tickets, or call 1-877-678-3327 and press zero to order and pre-pay by telephone.
Advance tickets are a must for this event.