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Christmas tour homes sought for ACS benefit

STEUBENVILLE — In the two years that Steubenville resident Joel John has organized the Homes for Hope Christmas tour, it has raised more than $5,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society.

The third-annual tour set for 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Dec. 7 looks to bolster that total.

But John needs area residents willing to open their decorated homes and showcase their holiday designing ways as stops on the event in order to make that happen.

“For this being a new program in our area to benefit the American Cancer Society, I’m overwhelmed with the response and community support,” John said of the first two installments of the tour. “This community has a lot of good people who come together for a good cause. The tour is just another opportunity to do so.”

Homes, churches or businesses on the tour can be anywhere in the area, not just Jefferson County, according to John, the owner of Exquisite Creations in Wintersville who organizes the tour in memory of his grandfather, the late Mike Hornyak, whose death from cancer ultimately inspired the fundraiser.

“We again are looking for a variety of homes decorated in many various styles, from country to elegant, simple to elaborate,” John explained. “The purpose of this event is to showcase the many styles of decorating in our area while raising funds to benefit the American Cancer Society.”

“We are looking for venues of all styles and sizes around the area,” he said. Homes located in Toronto, Richmond, Steubenville, Wintersville, Weirton and surrounding areas are all welcomed to participate.

“I’m looking to open it to around the same number of stops — ideally around 10 homes,” John explained. “I’d like to have all homes committed by Sept. 30.”

Some particulars about the tour include:

– Homeowners must commit to the entire time of the tour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and may permit certain areas of their home to be private.

“We ask that exterior porch lights and Christmas lights be lit the entire day, allowing guests to recognize homes easily,” John said. Additionally, a provided purple ribbon should be displayed in a prominent area to alert guests that they have arrived at a house participating in the tour.

– Homeowners can expect individuals or groups of people to arrive at any time, given the tour is self-guided.

– All participants of the tour must sign a liability form at the time tickets are purchased. “This legality holds the homeowner and all others involved with the tour free from any unforeseen liabilities or injuries that could possibly occur,” John noted. “For this reason, the homeowner must require all participants to present their wristbands at the door before they allow their home to be toured.”

– The tour will not be canceled because of inclement weather unless a weather advisory is set in place by the National Weather Service. No refunds will be given.

Tickets will be sold at Exquisite Creations Christmas, beginning at its Nov. 2 open house set for 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets will be sold for a $20 donation in advance and $25 the day of the event.

“All proceeds will go directly to the American Cancer Society,” John said. “We are so appreciative of those who support this annual fundraiser,” he added.

Interested homeowners can contact John by phone at (740) 275-4280 or by e-mail to exquisitecreationsbyjoel@gmail.com.

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