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Blowing Rock Tour of Homes Distributes $85,620 to 24 Local Nonprofits from Summer Fundraiser

By Sherrie Norris

The Outreach Committee of Blowing Rock’s St. Mary of the Hills Tour of Homes recently announced that 24 local nonprofit agencies and organizations have been named recipients of this year’s event proceeds.

According to the 2019 Tour of Homes chairperson, Radie Armstrong, this year’s fundraising event, which marked the 61st of its kind, was an overwhelming success and allowed the funding to be spread well across the area.

Known as one of Blowing Rock’s premiere events, the annual Tour of Homes, held each July, has helped support hundreds of worthy causes within the High Country region for decades.

Funds from this year’s tour, in addition to the patron’s party, which always precedes the main event, and known this year as the Gala at the Car Barn, brought in $85,620.

“We of the St. Mary’s tour committee are most appreciative of the response from church members and the public for their generosity and concern for High Country neighbors in need,” said Armstrong. “We are delighted to be able to award these grants to such deserving organizations.”

The list of recipients for 2019, as shared by the outreach committee, includes the following: Blowing Rock Cares Food Pantry, Blowing Rock Community Library, Blowing Rock School Tutoring Program, Blue Ridge Conservancy (Greenway project), Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, Camp Henry Scholarships, Children’s Council, Community Care Clinic, Creative Peacemakers, Crossnore School, Habitat for Humanity, Watauga County Hospitality House (for families, work skills, shelters, crisis situations), Hunger and Health Coalition (free pharmacy and food assistance) Oasis, Inc. (safety for women and children of domestic abuse) Resort Area Ministries, Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancy (WAMY) Community Action Inc., Watauga County Back to School Festival, Western Youth Network, Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge, Casting Bread (Thanksgiving meals), High Country Caregivers (legal assistance for grandparents raising grandchildren), Life Village (pilot housing program for persons with autism), Blowing Rock Police, Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue.

Armstrong, along with her husband and co-chair of the event, Ron Armstrong, again wishes to thank everyone involved in making it such a great success —”especially those who attended the Tour of Homes, who stood in line, shopped our wares and cheered us on. Their support is what makes this event special and successful for the High Country each year.” 
Also, thanks to the 130-plus volunteers who made it all possible, giving of their time and talents, whether by helping to plan and set up for the event, or driving the shuttles, selling, serving, delivering water and ice, and/or breaking down tents and tables afterward. Also, thanks to the Blowing Rock Police officers who worked on hot pavement all day directing traffic, and Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue for being available as needed.

“It was a perfect day,” Armstrong said earlier. “Many positive comments from the public were  followed by unsolicited donations to the tour, to honor a friend or just in thanks for the event.”

Each year, leading up to the Tour of Homes, the outreach committee of St. Mary’s provide applications/procedures to High Country charities. The applications are then reviewed, accepted and presented to the church vestry for approval. They are evaluated (based on need) during the month of September and announced in October.

“We are grateful for the 61st Tour of Homes and what it has brought to the lives of High Country residents. Many thanks to all who contributed,” said Armstrong.”

As one of the most anticipated local events of the year, the Annual Tour of Homes is known far and wide, drawing hundreds of people to the area for a glimpse into some of Blowing Rock’s most unique and amazing private residences.

The Armstrongs earlier described the fundraiser as one that promotes “a joyous relationship across boundaries of business, church, citizenry, donors, volunteers and charitable organizations each year.”

Always held on the last Friday of July, The annual Tour of Homes gets underway in the church lawn, with chauffeured transportation to and from the (usually) four featured homes open for the tour. It all begins at 9 a.m. with the last tickets sold at 3 p.m. and the houses closing at 5 p.m.

Mark your calendars now for the 62nd Annual Blowing Rock Tour of Homes and plan to be part of a great legacy that continues to enrich the lives of area residents.