FORT SCOTT, Kan. -- The holidays are a busy time for the Historic Preservation Association of Bourbon County as members prepare for the group's biggest fundraiser of the year.
The 33rd annual Homes for the Holidays tours, as well as the annual Moonlight and Mistletoe tour and Stocking Stuffer craft show, bake sale and barbecue, are scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 7-9. Activities will include tours of homes decorated for Christmas, shopping, music, crafts and food.
HPA President Don Miller said there are two ticket options available to residents: a $24 ticket that will provide admission to the Moonlight and Mistletoe tour, which this year will be at the home of Bill and Liz Meyer, 14 Golfview Dr., and also the four homes on the weekend tour, as well as the Stocking Stuffer event, or a $12 ticket for tours of only the weekend homes.
Miller said the Moonlight and Mistletoe tour will offer a time for "a great buffet and fellowship." A light buffet and beverages will be provided.
Tours will be offered from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The Moonlight and Mistletoe tour, with a theme of "Christmas Memories," will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday and is limited to 75 guests.
Tickets are available at the Country Cupboard, 12 N. Main St., and the Fort Scott Area Chamber of Commerce, 231 E. Wall St., and will be available at the door of each home.
Miller said the Stocking Stuffer event is always free and has been held at Fort Scott Middle School, 1105 E. 12th St., the last couple of years. He said there are 68 crafters scheduled to appear so far and the event is "full and running over." HPA provides a lunch of barbecue brisket sandwiches organized by Dave and Jan Elliott. A wide variety of crafts and gift items will be available. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
The new chairwoman of the bake sale is Maybell Mertz, and Miller said she needs help from the community in the form of donations of baked goods. Anyone who wishes to donate baked goods may take them to the middle school on Saturday. All items featured in the bake sale are donated.
For more information, call Miller at (620) 223-6423.
Several HPA members help with the event but organizers "need more volunteers for goods and working," Miller said.
The Homes for the Holidays tours are the major fundraiser for the HPA, which works to save historic buildings in Fort Scott and the surrounding area. Funds have been used in the past to help maintain and beautify the Old Congregational Church. Proceeds also allow the group to provide a newsletter and presentations by reenactors portraying Frank James, Amelia Earhart and other historic figures, for example.
Miller said next year, there are programs scheduled to take place in July and November.
The idea for the homes tours came about more than three decades ago from a "brainstorming idea to raise money and still get people quality," Miller said.
HPA members view homes of owners who request their residence be included on the tours to see how it handles foot traffic and accommodates a fairly large amount of people. The homeowner chooses the decorating theme.
"About any home will qualify," Miller said.
Miller said homeowners whose homes are featured on the tour usually like the chance they get to "get things done they've been putting off.
"It's a fun motivator; your house has never been cleaner than when it's on the homes tour," he said. "It's also self-satisfaction. You get nice comments from people after looking at the home."
Concerning turnout for the event in recent year, Miller said, "Out of town has been good. Local support has not been as good as we would have liked."
Miller added there could be several reasons for a lower attendance from local residents in recent years, including cold weather and several Kansas City-area homes tours that take place the same weekend.
The weekend will also include several other holiday-related events, such as the Candlelight Tour at the Fort Scott National Historic Site Dec. 7-8, and Christmas in the Park on Dec. 8. Miller said even though the weekend is packed with activities, it could be an opportunity for residents to plan fun-filled weekend times on different days.
"It's a nice weekend getaway," he said. "There are a lot of things to do that weekend."
Homes featured on the Homes for the Holidays tours include the homes of Jared and Alisha Martin, 1230 S. Judson St., with the theme of "Home: The Heart of the Family Follow the Stars," Jared Leek, 604 Tiffany Lane, featuring the theme of "Chaos at Christmas," Jake and Dawn Anderson, 1722 S. Horton, with the theme of "The Anderson Lighthouse," and John and Cindy Bartelsmeyer, 1121 207th St., which features a "Christmas in Wonderland" theme.