A number of Sylvan Lake homes were opened to the public last Wednesday night, festively decorated in support of a good cause.
Five homeowners opened their doors for the Festival of Homes tour, put on by Krest Homes and the Kevin Lapp Real Estate Team.
About 200 tickets were sold, and visitors donated money on site, with all proceeds totaling about $3,000 — money used to purchase Christmas gifts for families in need.
“We had a great turn out and people were very generous and gave a lot of positive feedback,” said Kevin Lapp Real Estate Team office manager Sheri Colford. “They were pleased with our homeowners, who were willing to open their homes to strangers and invite them in to celebrate the season, as well as with the variety of homes that we had.”
Each year, organizers scour Sylvan Lake schools for needy families, and aim to help them at Christmas time by purchasing gifts. Occasionally, families that benefit from the program are overlooked by other programs.
This year the staff will purchase, wrap and deliver gifts for five Sylvan Lake families.
“It’s really difficult for these kids to go back to school — some kids get so much and some kids get very, very little, so it’s nice to know that for one day these kids are getting what they want, which takes the pressure off of parents,” said Colford.
The festival this year experienced its highest-ever turnout in its three years of existence. Colford was told that people were having so much fun exploring the festively decorated houses that they didn’t want the night to end.
“Everybody was so pleased with it,” she said. “It’s a really fun night and it’s really hard to catch people in a bad mood.”
Since its inception, the festival has raised over $7,500.
Colford said organizers are always looking for ways to give back to the community, and felt people would very much enjoy a night of taking in some of Sylvan Lake’s festively decorated homes. They also felt the event would provide a fun way of raising money for a good cause.
“It’s just nice to see the way different people decorate their homes,” said Colford. “Sometimes it’s just the simplest little thing that is so beautiful.”
Organizers aim to feature different homes each year, she added. And homeowners are often all too happy to take part.
“It’s a lot for someone to open their doors and let a couple hundred people walk through, but once they do it they love it, and we’ve had a lot of people volunteer to do it year after year,” said Colford.
Marti Leigh was one participating homeowner whose Marina Bay home was opened to the public for the event. This year marked her first being involved with it, and she was happy to welcome the community inside.
“I was asked to do it and I was happy to do it,” she said.