WESTFIELD - From the arrival of Santa Claus, to horse-drawn carriages, holiday shopping opportunities and a tour of seasonally decorated homes, Christmas is coming early to the village of Westfield.
The Westfield Women's Organization is set to host its 28th annual Holly Tour from 12:30-5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24. The tour will feature five homes, as well as the new Grape Discovery Center.
According to Sandra Brown of the Westfield Women's Organization, the event is an opportunity to admire some of the historic homes of Westfield, find holiday decorating ideas as well as support the community via fundraising.
Pictured is the Somers-Boisjoly house. This Victorian Italianate brick villa is one of the five homes featured on the Holly Tour of Westfield this year.
"Maybe someone might see a Christmas decoration and think, 'I can do that,'" Brown said. "Everyone should also know that their ticket money will help the community."
Although there is no beginning or end to the tour, Brown recommends participants stop by the First United Methodist Church for refreshments and live entertainment. Because there is no single check-in location, participants may opt to begin the tour at any of the five homes on the tour, as well as the Grape Discovery Center, which is located at 8305 W. Main Road.
"The Grape Discovery Center is the newest jewel in Westfield, and we are so proud of it we want to share it with the public," Brown said. "Visit the interactive displays to learn about the Concord grape industry, or taste wines from various wineries throughout Lake Erie Wine Country."
The tour features three homes built in the 1800s, including: David and Holly Momberger's house, located at 8750 W. Main Road; Russell Boisjoly and Carol Somers' house, 118 W. Main St.; Steve and Karin Cockram's house, 89 Union St.; and the Mack House, 79 N. Portage St.
"The Holly Tour is an opportunity to have a fun afternoon wandering through some of the most beautiful homes in Westfield," Brown said.
In addition to the four local homes featured, the tour will also include the Lakeside Bed and Breakfast, a home that was built in 1830 and is located at the entrance to Barcelona Harbor, 8223 E. Lake Road. Parking for the tour is located at Daniel Reed Pier.
"As with any bed and breakfast, it is first a home and then a business," Brown said. "This is a beautiful home with interesting architecture and furnishings for everyone to enjoy."
The tour itself acts as a fundraiser for the Westfield Women's Organization, which is a service organization that has been active in the community for more than 40 years. In the past, the organization has presented funds raised from the event to Westfield Memorial Hospital, Westfield Community Kitchen, the Patterson Library, the McClurg Museum, the Summer Recreation Program, the food pantry, local preschools and Westfield Academy and Central School.
"The Holly Tour is the major fundraiser that provides the organization the opportunity to give back to the Westfield community," Brown said. "By offering their homes to be part of the tour, homeowners are indirectly helping support the Westfield community."
Tickets are $10, and are available in Westfield, Fredonia, Lakewood and Mayville. The tickets include a write-up about each house, and a map of their locations.
Those who wish to make a weekend out of the event may opt to head to Westfield on Friday at 6 p.m. for a tree lighting ceremony and the arrival of Santa Claus during the Christmas in the Village celebration. Following the event, treats and refreshments will be available at the YWCA.
"Just like the first snow, the arrival of Santa on a very large tractor to a park full of families excites young and old alike," Brown said. "There is something magical about Christmas, and the lighting of the tree signals the beginning of the season."
Festivities continue on Saturday, with free horse-drawn carriage rides leaving from Eason Hall on Elm Street between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. A holiday shopping event called Hall of Christmas will also be held at Eason Hall. Those who present their Holly Tour tickets at event will receive two chances to win in a gift basket drawing.
"The Hall of Christmas will feature local artisans with unique merchandise that cannot be found at large department stores," Brown said. "Attendees should be able to find a one of a kind gift that will be fun to give, or even to keep."
An afternoon tea will be served at the historic George P. York mansion, 108 S. Portage St. beginning at noon. Seating times are also available at 1, 2 or 3 p.m. The cost is $10, and tickets are available at the McClurg Museum. Proceeds from the tea will serve to benefit the museum as well as the Chautauqua County Historical Society.
"Guests will be treated to a true Victorian tea in a true Victorian setting," Brown said.
For more information, find the Westfield Women's Organization on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org.