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Tour of Homes inspires holiday spirit in Russellville

Glittering Christmas trees, lush green garlands, collectible elves and Santa Clauses and all the traditional décor of Christmas awaited those who turned out for the Books Lovers Study Club’s Tour of Homes Dec. 13.

The tour featured five houses, a church and the Historic Roxy Theatre, each decked out in their best holiday finery, for a special fundraising event that Cheri McCain said the club hasn’t held for several years.

Reds and green give a traditional holiday feel at Jim and Michelle Sibley’s home.
Reds and green give a traditional holiday feel at Jim and Michelle Sibley’s home.

“We brainstorm every year for fundraising projects we can do, and we’ve actually thrown this idea out there for the past couple of years,” McCain said.

Funds raised from the sale of tour tickets will benefit the Russellville Public Library, school libraries and the club’s education scholarship.

Chase Sparks’ historic home was one of those included on the tour, sparkling with Christmas magic.

This festive tree adds a little holly jolly to the kitchen at Bennett Hall, one of the houses on the Tour of Homes Dec. 13.
This festive tree adds a little holly jolly to the kitchen at Bennett Hall, one of the houses on the Tour of Homes Dec. 13.

“I’ve been decorating like this for many years, and you want somebody to enjoy it besides yourself,” Sparks said. “Every bow and everything has been tied by me.”

Each room in Sparks’ home – which he began decorating Halloween night – has a different theme, inspired by the room itself. Byers’ Choice Carolers spread cheer in the dining room, where the décor is chosen to coordinate with the Lenox Christmas china. In the foyer, a towering tree houses his Mark Roberts collection of fairies, elves and blown-glass ornaments. His newest collection is a woodland theme, with a tree full of rabbits, owls and other creatures, giving the room a cabin-in-the-woods atmosphere. An Alabama-themed alcove boasts a tree full of ornaments that would make Bear Bryant proud.

At Bennett Hall, the home of Hillary Hall, nine Christmas trees – eight 9-footers and one 12-footer – give off a festive air. Christopher Radko baubles grace the tree in the foyer, a collection she’s been amassing for years. A winter woodland greets guests in the formal living room, with snowy garlands and a flocked tree. A Christmas village sprawled out in the upstairs, tiny bakeries and coffee shops and other buildings that Hall began collecting as a child.

“When I was in middle school, I was collecting stuff,” Hall said. “I love Christmas. It’s my favorite.”

Michelle Sibley is a member of the Book Lovers and knew she wanted to participate to help support the great cause. An enormous tree in the entry is, according to Sibley, the prettiest, but it’s a smaller tree, festooned with Hallmark ornaments, that’s her favorite.

“They’ve been gifts for different things,” she said. The bookcase in the same room features treasured gifts as well, including some given by students, from her teaching career. Small touches throughout her home, including a garland swag festooning the bannister, are sure to put guests in the holiday spirit.

McCain said they had about 200 people purchase tickets for the tour, and several people expressed interest in having their own homes included on the tour next year.

 

 

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