WEST LIBERTY – West Liberty Business Association will host the Christmas Tour of Homes and Christmas Lights Contest on Saturday, December 11, from noon to 4 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased the day of for $20 per person at the Town Hall or discounted tickets can be purchased for $15 per person ahead of time at Solomon’s Garage, Civista Bank or the Town Hall office.
Corporate sponsors of the event include Bell Hankins Realty, Bobbi’s Bungalow, C&R Pharmacy, Civista Bank, Country Friends of Ohio LLC, Eichholtz Daring & Sanford Funeral Home, Green Hills Community, Holdren Brothers, MCC Thrift Shop and Peoples Savings & Loan Co.
Proceeds from the tour go to the West Liberty Business Association for future community events, and a portion goes to the West Liberty Historical Society for continued work on the Opera House.
The tour will include four stops this year, the Town Hall, the Blackbird on the Mad River Airbnb, as well as two beautiful private family homes in the area, the Poland home and the Vitt home.
This year will also continue the socially-distanced favorite: the Christmas Lights Contest that is designed to get the entire community involved.
Everyone living within the village of West Liberty is encouraged to decorate the outside of their home for Christmas by December 11 and then residents and tour attendees alike are encouraged to drive around the community and upload a photo to Facebook of their favorite decorated home using the hashtag #wlchristmaslights. The home that receives the most votes will win $50 in Liberty Bucks to be spent shopping locally just in time for the holidays.
Make a very fun day out of it, by meeting friends mid-morning for coffee at Sweetie Pie’s Coffee Shop. Saunter along the beautiful brick-paved sidewalks of downtown West Liberty, taking in the crisp cool Christmas air while hearing music piped outside from MCC Thrift Shop. Purchase gifts for friends and family at our excellent downtown shops including LT’s Uniquities, Neer & Farm and Country Friends of Ohio, grab an early lunch at the Liberty Gathering Place and then start the tour at noon.
The first stop on the tour will be the Town Hall located at 201 North Detroit Street, where tickets can be purchased the day of the tour. The community will be able to try out the newly-installed elevator to the second floor Opera House and see the extensive renovations that have been completed over the past year, including beautiful paint details by local artists, new flooring and lighting. It is absolutely spectacular and worth coming to the tour just for this stop.
The second stop on the tour will be the Poland Home, located at 309 East Newell Street. The homeowner said the charm of the cute story and a half home is what initially attracted her to it. Her favorite room is the living and dining room in the center of the home. Family members love gathering together at the home because it is so cozy and comforting to spend time there. The home is full of adorable mementos, such as the quilt on the bedroom wall hand stitched by her cousin, the cabins which nod to her father’s maple syrup business and numerous hand-made cabinets made by her late husband.
The third location on the tour will be historic hand-hewn log home on the Mad River along the West edge of Lions Park, the Gill home. It is located at 415 East Columbus Street and has recently come under new ownership. The owners currently rent out the home as an Airbnb rental called “Blackbird on the Mad River” and spend weekends and holidays there themselves. The Gills are both realtors and enjoy rehabbing homes. It has been recently updated with all the modern amenities.
This beautiful log home was originally built in West Virginia in the early 1800s. It was disassembled and spent many years stored in a barn. In the 1970s, West Liberty resident and former Mayor Phil Black and his wife, Betty Jo, brought each piece of the cabin to West Liberty and rebuilt it. The doors, door hardware and stairs came out of an 1817 Federal style home on Flowing Well Road in Logan County. The Airbnb rental name “Blackbird on Mad River” was chosen to pay homage to the former owners, and because the current owners love the Beatles Song “Blackbird.” There are blackbird references throughout the home.
The owners’ favorite room is the front room which features the hand-hewn log walls along with the cozy fireplace. It is a treasure to sit on the porch listening to the sound of the water flowing by in the Mad River. The new homeowners love exploring the area when visiting, including Ohio Caverns, downtown West Liberty and neighboring towns. The home has been decorated with items purchased in many local stores, including LT’s Uniquities, Country Friends of Ohio, Mad River Farm Market and Olde Mint Antiques.
The fourth stop on the tour is the Vitt home located at 8193 U.S. Route 68 just south of town. The homeowner, Jake Vitt, is a proud member of the West Liberty Lions Club, owner of Logan Lawn & Landscaping and the West Liberty- Salem athletic director. What first attracted him to the property were the barns, which also serve a bigger purpose for his small business.
This home is unique in that it and the farmhouse located just to the south, belonging to the Woodruff family, were originally built by the same family and mimic one another in layout and design. Jake loves the view from his bedroom where he can watch the south end of the Village of West Liberty, where he was born and raised. His favorite feature of the home is his relaxing back patio. However, friends and family would describe his home as a very busy place, with lots of traffic on U.S. Route 68 and in and out of the property for his business.
Every year he holds a big Christmas party, and an employee lunch. He also enjoys throwing barn parties and some graduation parties in his barn, which is very unique. For the holidays, Jake enjoys displaying his late mother’s special Santa collection, and his Christmas village setup that he has collected over the years.
Info from Katie Neer