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Published November 06 2010

Other area home tours raise funds for charities

’Tis the season for holiday home walks. Here’s a quick rundown on two slated for next weekend:

Holiday Homes of Hope

The neighbors already were friends, and they all loved to deck out their homes for the holidays. So they decided to make it an event.

And not just any event, but one that raises funds for people affected by cystic fibrosis, a fatal genetic disease that causes frequent, severe lung infections and nutrition-absorption issues.

Neighbors Carlotta Schwartz and Lisa Backlund have a special interest in CF, as their daughters were both born with it. Sophie Backlund is now 12 and Nicole Schwartz is 20.

The parents wanted to give any proceeds to the state’s cystic fibrosis association, which provides counseling to families affected by CF and helps offset their enormous medical costs, gives scholarships to students with CF and helps to pay for life-prolonging lung transplants.

Backlund says two of the homes on the tour – including her home at 3120 and the Bruce and Lori Tollefson home at 3102 – will be decorated in a rich, traditional style, with plenty of reds, creams, golds and cobalt blues.

A third neighbor, Jana Haremza, will adorn her home at 3126 in a more contemporary theme, with oversized ornaments and natural elements.

Another friend and neighbor, Dallas Christianson, has opened her garage for a large sale, which will offer baked goods, jams and jellies, holiday décor, floral gifts, quilts, work donated by 20 area artists and wreaths, which Backlund designed.

Backlund hopes people will be attracted to the easy walking distances of the participating houses and their event’s neighborhood feel. “I think the story there is about a neighborhood of friends coming together to open their houses,” she says.

El Zagal Deck the Halls Tour of Homes

This is the third year that this benevolent group has offered a holiday tour of homes.

“Our tour is unique in that the homes are decorated by the homeowners and showcase the style of their home along with their style of décor and how they entertain their families and friends throughout the holiday season,” says Laurie Oberg, chair of the event.

In addition to highlightting five distinctive homes in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo, event organizers have organized a festival of trees in the upstairs ballroom of the El Zagal Shrine.

Visitors will be able to view 25 different themed trees and tablescapes. “While having cookies, coffee and cider, our guests will be able to imagine our ideas in their homes,” Oberg says.

The Shriners are perhaps best known for the Shriners Hospitals for Children, a health care system of 22 hospitals devoted to pediatric specialty care. Children up to age 18 with orthopaedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries and cleft lip and palate are eligible for care in this family-centered environment, regardless of their families’ ability to pay.