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July 29, 2014

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Originally published: 2011-08-05 11:14:48
Last modified: 2011-08-05 11:15:03

Letters: Tour organizers say thanks

The 53rd annual Tour of Homes is over and it was once again evidence of the wonderful Blowing Rock community spirit. 

The volunteer hostesses at the four homes graciously welcomed many visitors and the volunteer drivers, loaders and starters made certain that all arrived safely to and from the homes. 

The Patron’s Party Thursday evening at the newly renovated and restored historic Green Park Inn was a lively occasion with fabulous food provided by chef James Welch, piano music by Charlie Ellis and a new feature — a live auction — commanded by Cullie Tarleton as auctioneer. 

In order that the entire income from the Patron’s Party could go directly to the proceeds of the tour, the cost of the party was totally underwritten by the generous contributions of our parishioners, Kirby Brown, Joellyn and Bill Gibbons, Louann and Dick Kitchell, Alice Roess, and others who wish to remain anonymous.

The gross income from the Patron’s Party, the tour itself and the associated activities such as the bake sale, frozen food, aprons, St. Mary of the Hills cookbooks, HeART of St. Mary Show & Sale, Razzle Dazzle Raffle, Ed Springs’ prints os St. Mary Of the Hills, note cards, floral bouquets, picnic-in-a box lunch, is more than $70,000. 

A substantial portion of the net proceeds will be distributed to church and community outreach programs in the High Country. 

It is for the benefit of those in need that 1) homeowners opened their homes; 2) volunteers gave of their precious time, talents and resources; 3) tour participants purchased tickets and items from under the tents on St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church lawn; 4) dozens of community residents cut flowers from their gardens and dozens more created magnificent floral displays for the tour homes; 5) businesses donated valuable items to the raffle; 6) Jeff Eason, Ken Ketchie, Frank Ruggiero and David Rogers provided valuable press coverage; 7) the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce sold tour tickets prior to tour day; 8) the Hayes Performing Arts Center provided satellite parking; 9) the Blowing Rock Police Department provided superb protection and assistance during the event; 10) the Appalachian Regional Healthcare System provided the foot covers for the tour from our overstock from previous years; and 11) Storie Street Grille provided box lunches served in the parish hall. 

The 2011 Tour of Homes was organized and fully directed by the steering committee. 

Special thanks goes to those who organized each component of the tour and made it happen: Will Merrill and Page Parsons for the selection of houses; Leslie Temple for graphic designs: Nancy Hutcheson for publicity; Gary Gloster, Sterling Hutcheson and Dave Kline for transportation; Sharon Battaglia and Diane Thornton with Nancy Hutcheson as liaison for the hostesses; Will Merrill and Peggy Carlson for writing the newspaper articles and ticket information on the houses; Vicki Duckworth for the greeters and foot cover distribution; Sally and Pete Page for the ticket distribution; Lynn Hubbard and Garland Myers for culinary creations and Loy McGill and Amanda White for the bake sale; Rebecca Alexander and Susie Morgan for aprons; Barbara Ballesty and Cindy Milner for the art show and sale; Mark Klein for the box lunches; Betty Green and Bob McCloskey for the docents; Nell Kline and Ann Meade with Judy Gloster as liaison for the flowers; Kay and Bob McCloskey for doing the note cards; Page Parsons, Garland Myers and Judy and Gary Gloster for the Patron’s Party; Garland and Chip Myers, Page Parsons for the raffle/auction; Lynn Coulthard for the zero waste recycling effort; Betty Howe and Larry Turnbow for handling the off-site parking; and Peggy Carlson and Page Parsons with Foggy Rock for special lunches for volunteers. 

Thanks to Meg Fary selling cookbooks, Bill Stroh for hours of preparation inside and out; Greg Rhoads and Paul Karseras for running to the homes with water and ice and bringing back bags for recycling; Olivia Knight for clerical excellence and being there for everyone on the church lawn; Sam Tallman and Gary Gloster for clean up; the Page Brothers Band for wonderful music; and the Blowing Rock Community Association and the Valle Fair for the loan of tents. 

We wish we could name all volunteers individually but it would take several pages to do so and we might miss somebody! Just know that each and every volunteer is a gift to the Tour and to the organizations that receive funds gathered from the tour, and we are indeed grateful. 

St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church Women thanks all individuals and all businesses that help make the Tour of Homes such a great success. It all began fifty-three years ago with an idea and the creative spirit of a handful of women. The tours of the past are gone, but the memories live on forever and inspire others to continue in the future. 
With grateful hearts from the Tour of Homes Steering Committee, 

Judy Gloster and Nancy Hutcheson, Co-Chairs, Gary Gloster, Sterling Hutcheson, Garland & Chip Myers, Page Parsons and Olivia Knight.
For more information and stories, see The Blowing Rocket.

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