The smell of warm apple cider wafted out the door of the county home of Sheila and Scott Brennise on Saturday afternoon. Pairs of shoes scattered their front porch. And high ceilings and elaborate holiday decorations welcomed near strangers to examine their newly built home on Highway 394.
The Craig Rotary Club sponsored the Holiday Home Tour this weekend, which featured three Craig area houses decorated for the season. Visitors were asked to leave their shoes at the door and visit each room that was cleaned up and infused with holiday decor.
"You have to do it once because you want to see your house all decorated once," Sheila Brennise said. "I thought if I had a deadline I would get (the decorating) all finished, and I did. It was a great way for me to get it all done."
She said she typically decorates her home, though not to the extent she did this year.
"I don't have this many Christmas decorations, so my mom brought some over and helped me decorate," she said.
Rotary member Greg Roberts was stationed at the Brennises' front door to greet visitors, hand out programs and collect the $5 fee for the fund-raiser. He said the club has been putting on the event for three or four years after taking over for another organization that did not want to host it anymore.
"We knew it was a successful event, and we thought it would be a great project and a fun event," he said.
The Rotary uses the proceeds from the Holiday Home Tour and other fund-raisers to sponsor many events, including the Book Buddies reading program, international exchange students, Marcia Car cleanup, vision screenings, the purchase of Shadow Mountain playground equipment and many other community programs.
While the Rotary members enjoy putting on the event, they face a major obstacle when planning it.
"The hardest part is finding someone to volunteer their house," Roberts said.
Dean and Brenda Hollenbeck "finally gave in" after Rotary had asked them to include their house for the past three years.
"I usually just decorate the living and dining room and the kitchen, not the whole house, but it was fun," Brenda Hollenbeck said. "It's good that it's Christmastime, because it's my favorite time of year."
The third home featured on the home tour was owned by Gail Severson.
A fourth home, owned by Gail and Gregg Kitchen, was not available for the tour for personal reasons.