SIKESTON -- Area residents wanting to get into the spirit of the holidays can do so as they walk through the festive homes placed on the Christmas home tours offered this weekend in Charleston and Sikeston.
From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, the Mississippi County Historical Society is conducting its three-home Christmas tour, which also includes a tour of the Society's home, and on Sunday, the Sikeston Depot is sponsoring its third annual Christmas Homes Tour from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in Sikeston.
"People can come out and get ideas on how to decorate their own home and get in the Christmas spirit at the same time," said Anita Sharp, Sikeston Depot volunteer coordinator.
For at least the past 15 years, the Mississippi County Historical Society has been conducting Christmas home tours. Homes featured on the tour are strictly volunteer, pointed out Tom Graham, president of the Mississippi County Historical Society.
"Visitors just drive from one home to the next. All of the homes are scattered. There's no guide or anything like that. They can go to all of the homes or one, but cost is the same and they start wherever they please," Graham explained.
Mississippi County's homes on the tour this year include: Todd and Lacey Hall at 502 East Cypress, built in 1897; Honey and Bill Owens at South Ann Drive across from the Charleston Country Club, built in 2002; and Glenda and Wilbert Manche located on 506 South Main St., built circa 1900.
One recently remodeled home will feature fresh greenery and a display of feather trees that belonged to the owner's grandmother, Graham said. Another home features traditional Christmas decor and a another with a children's room decorated with Disney characters, he explained about the homes on tour.
Refreshments will also be served during the home tours at the Mississippi County Historical Society house, built in 1899 and located at 403 North Main, Graham noted. Tours will be available at the Society house, too, he added.
"We will be displaying several different Christmas collections that have been loaned to us by the public for the tour," Graham said about the Society house. "Collections loaned range from dolls to Santas to angels and Christmas trees. The collections are an addition to the things we normally decorate in the home such as the seven fireplaces and a big stairwell."
On Sunday, the Sikeston tour's four homes include: Janet and Tom Hudspeth at 604 Tanglewood; Ronda and Steve Palmer at 1008 Pine; Dee and Harold Yarbrough at 323 Kennedy Drive; and Lisa and Mike Pobst at 101 Ridge Drive. Refreshments will be served at the Sikeston Depot.
A map to the four homes in the City of Sikeston is printed on the back of the home tours tickets, Sharp said.
"Homeowners choose what rooms they want to open and decorate," Sharp explained. "They can close off the rooms they don't want to display. Some decorate the homes themselves and some have florists come in and decorate."
Both the tours in Sikeston and Charleston do get visitors from out of town.
"Last year we had a tour bus from the St. Louis area come and view the homes," Sharp recalled.
Over 300 tickets were sold for the home tours in Sikeston last year, Sharp said, adding that they've got lots more tickets than that to sell.
"People enjoy going on the tours," Sharp. "The Garden Club had tours years ago and then they quit. We started doing this a couple years ago and we seem to have more and more visitors each year."
Admission for the Charleston home tours is $5 and tickets may be purchased at any of the four homes Saturday or by a historical society board member. All proceeds go toward maintenance of the Mississippi County Historical Society home.
Cost of tickets for the Sikeston homes tour is $10 each, and tickets are currently available at the Sikeston Depot, or they may also be purchased from any board member. The day of the tour, the Depot will be open at 12:30 p.m. for purchase of tickets. No tickets will be available at the homes.
For more information about the Charleston home tours contact Graham at 683-6740, or those interested in the Sikeston home tours can call the Depot at 481-9967.