The homes, historic landmarks and parks are decorated, the businesses have been stocked, the restaurants and caterers have planned their contributions; Santa Claus, Azalea Trail Maids, Camellia Maids, a classical guitarist and even the Grinch have set aside Dec. 12, 3-7 p.m., to entertain guests of the 2015 Semmes Christmas Tour.
Diane Moore, co-chair of the 7th annual tour, began planning it at the conclusion of last year’s very successful event, which 300-400 people attended. The tour visits residences and other places that she, her co-chair Jamie Tapia and 10 other Semmes Woman’s Club members have secured to launch a joyous Christmas season.
“Participants are encouraged to celebrate the season in style by enjoying the Tasting Tour and then visiting Host sites draped in holiday cheer,” Moore said. “Visitors love to tour the Host Homes and see the personal and distinctive twists that are evident in the décor of each home, whether it be traditional, Southern, whimsical, Victorian or elegant.”
The three families who will share their holiday-decorated homes are Pam and Curtis Johnson, Megan and Bryan Adams, and Miranda and Jason Steadham. The two historic stops are the Semmes Senior Center, formerly the estate of the Blackwell Nursery family, and Semmes Heritage Park, comprising Malone Chapel, a replica of the first church in Semmes; an old-fashioned one-room log cabin; and the historic 1902 Semmes Schoolhouse.
The expansive Honor Park on Wulff Road, completed a couple of years ago, and the smaller Camellia Park on Illinois Street, dedicated a month ago, are also on the tour. And one business, Meggie B’s Christmas Store, will welcome guests with special Christmas items, a sale and extended hours to accommodate the after-tour crowd.
The Johnson home, where Pam was raised, is decorated with the help of a preacher from Tennessee and his wife. Johnson primarily sticks with the traditional red-and-green color scheme, but deviates somewhat when it comes to her dining table — the centerpieces are gold and silvery white. She plans to have compatible fresh, cut flowers in every room of her home when Christmas Tour guests arrive.
Megan and Bryan Adams are young parents with a 1-year-old daughter, Tyler. “It’s her first Christmas, and she is obsessed with Minnie Mouse,” Megan said. Consequently, Tyler’s very own Christmas tree and room will carry a Minnie theme. But Adams also loves things from an earlier generation and will proudly display a porcelain Nativity scene handpainted by her grandmother.
Miranda and Jason Steadham also like using items passed down from previous generations. Their two trees, mostly traditionally decorated with standard green and red, will be skirted with quilts Miranda’s two grandmothers made.
In addition, approximately 20 restaurants, caterers and other eateries will offer generous samples of their fare at the starting point of the event, Allentown Elementary School at 10330 Howell’s Ferry Road in Semmes.
The yearly event is sponsored by Semmes Woman’s Club in collaboration with the city of Semmes and Mobile County Commissioner Connie Hudson. Additional contributors include Walgreens, Wal-Mart and Target.
Advance tickets are available for a $10 donation at Semmes Senior Center, Meggie B’s, Century Bank in Semmes or Ruby Blue Boutique. Tickets at $12 will also be on hand at Allentown Elementary the day of the tour. Proceeds from this event benefit historic preservation in Semmes.
The Tasting Tour will last just two hours, from 3-5 p.m., at Allentown Elementary School, where the entire Semmes Christmas Tour begins. Whether or not guests indulge in the food, the beginning venue, which has varied over the years, is the spot where they will pick up the map with addresses and directions to the other tour sites.
Classical guitarist Mark Habib will also perform at the school, offering his brand of music and emceeing such happenings as the announcement of door prize winners. Door prizes were added last year and proved very popular with guests, organizers said.
Jo Anne McKnight is a writer in Mobile County. For more news of community events, people and places, visit her blog at joannemcknight.com.