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liberalfirstlongoriginal
Friday
December 14th, 2018

otlr holiday home tour artworkA group of tourists goes through one of the homes on the OTLR Holiday Home Tour in 2017. Due to a lack of homes, this year will not feature a home tour, but OTLR Executive Director Pam McElvain said there are already plans being made for the 2019 tour. L&T file photo/Elly GrimmELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times

 

After being a tradition in Liberal for several years, OTLR  has decided to suspend its Holiday Home Tour for this year, according to OTLR Executive Director Pam McElvain. 

“We were unable to secure enough families to display their homes for the Holiday Home Tour for this year so we decided instead of having a tour that wasn’t up to our usual standards, we would just not have one this year,” McElvain said. “Several people actually told us they would be willing to do it next year but were unable to participate this year. So we’re planning on a really big tour next year if everyone who has said they’ll help is available to do it. We want the public to know we appreciate everyone’s support and the OTLR Holiday Home Tour will be back and stronger than ever in 2019 and we apologize for not being able to have one in 2018. We’re not permanently stopping the tour, we’re just taking this year off.”

The decision to suspend the tour for this year came about near the end of October, McElvain said. 

“The families need plenty of notice and things like that and the public needs time to get excited about everything and we also have to put the advertising together and all of that,” McElvain said. “When we were able to come up with only three homes for sure and another one as only a maybe, and after speaking to a lot of people who were ultimately either uninterested or unable to participate this year, we ultimately decided to take this year off and let everyone breathe and celebrate Christmas in other ways like the parade and the craft show and other things like that. Something else we were wanting to do this year, because the craft show is so early this year, we were going to have the tour the second weekend in December and we’re sorry that didn’t happen because Ada Linenbroker and I had talked a lot and she said there are a lot of people who work the craft show and help us out and would like to come but ultimately can’t because they’re still working the craft show.” 

And even with how this year turned out, McElvain said the lineup for next year looks good.

“We’re in good shape for next year and we’re really excited about the homes that will be on the tour because they’re new to participating. The 2019 tour is almost put together and if everyone is able to work everything out, it’ll be great for those who come,” McElvain said. “We’re always excited to have new people on the tour and that’s what makes it so much fun. A lot of people go year after year and they like to see people’s collections and decorations and everything, and I’ve said to several people if you love Halloween or Valentine’s Day or Thanksgiving or Hanukah or any other holiday, you can be on the tour and have your home decked out. We would love to have new people give us a call and they can call us at any point of the year and let us know they’re interested. It doesn’t matter how big your house is, it’s really about seeing how people in town celebrate the holidays and their traditions.” 

McElvain added she would enjoy seeing different people and different cultures represented on the tour, and that diversity is the most important part of the tour. 

“I know when I was president of the Arts Council several years ago I had an exchange student from Germany here and we were talking about how we celebrated Christmas and the holidays and we came up with the idea for doing a Christmas Around the World event,” McElvain said. “We have such a diverse population in Liberal and at the Baker Arts Center we had displays and food set up by people from Vietnam and The Philippines and Mexico, all different countries, and I’ll never forget us doing that. I also remember taking an egg decorating class that was more Czechoslovakian-oriented. I didn’t know that much about a lot of different cultures and it would be wonderful if, no matter what culture you’re part of, a lot of different would participate in the home tour and share your family traditions. I remember there was one home on the tour a few years ago and there was a wall design in the house based on the windmill the wife’s grandparents had on their farm, where she spent a lot of time as a child on vacations and stuff like that. I know a lot of people have things like that and I would love to show that all off for the community and show off our diversity.”

McElvain said she and OTLR staff are ready and excited for next year’s tour. 

“We’re excited about the 2019 Holiday Home Tour and we actually recently got a grant that will allow us to build four more 3-bedroom homes for lower-income families that will be ready in 2019, so we’re excited to be able to help expand the help we’re able to give to the community and lower-income families,” McElvain said. “OTLR deals with families who fall in that lower-income working class, and a lot of time there aren’t many services available to them, so they need help and that’s what we do.”

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