The Friends of Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour brings old charm back into the holiday season. It harks back to the days when people strolled along the street admiring the inventiveness of seasonal decorations. Pepper in a mix of historic residences with a backdrop of towering cityscapes, along with horse-drawn carriages, and the spirit of the season becomes magical.

In its 38th year, the three-day event showcases the elegant Victorians, urban condominiums, cultural institutions and historic places for which Fourth Ward is famous — all dressed in their holiday finery.

4thwardholidayhometour_horsePublic touring of these private residences is permitted during on Dec. 4-5, 5-9 p.m. and Dec. 6, 1-5 p.m.

“Fourth Ward is an extremely inclusive and LGBT-friendly community. In fact, a portion of the proceeds from our spring event, the Secret Gardens of Fourth Ward, benefited the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network. For this event, we have several LGBT homeowners on tour,” tour committee person Beth Walker shared. “Last year’s tour sold out and raised …over $13,000 for Housing First Charlotte-Mecklenburg, which is striving to end chronic homeless,” she added.

This walkable, self-guided tour includes admission to eight private Uptown homes, free food, beer and wine samples (while they last) at locations along the tour route, plus special holiday surprises at the 7th Street Public Market. On Sunday only, guests may also tour the historic McNinch House restaurant and Victorian home, including the newly renovated private residence upstairs. Throughout the weekend, choirs and hand bell ensembles will perform seasonal music on the porches of neighborhood homes and tour-goers will enjoy free horse and carriage rides throughout the neighborhood, along with complimentary appetizers at participating center city restaurants.

Vendors providing complimentary refreshments and tastings within homes, at official stops along the tour route or at their restaurants include: Rock Bottom Brewery, Mert’s Heart & Soul, Muddy River Distillery, The Asbury, The Wooden Vine, Allen Tate Realtors, Skyhouse Uptown, Potts Chocolate, Assorted Table Wine Shoppe and 7th Street Public Market.

Tour-goers have the opportunity to explore SkyHouse Uptown’s rooftop deck, complete with food and wine tastings at the SkyLounge. At the 7th Street Public Market, enjoy complimentary treats, live seasonal music, multiple tastings, gift shopping and more.

Jay Biles, an LGBT community activist and former Friends president, was honored to be asked to be on the tour this year. His condominium features an open two-story living/dining areas with a wall of windows, perfect to viewing the Uptown area. “The neighborhood is great and very inclusive for LGBT residents,” he shared. His stop serves as The Wooden Vine wine tasting spot. Biles said, “The tour is a mix of older Victorian homes, condos and townhouses. My home is a more modern condo to add to the mix. I have been preparing for several weeks cleaning, putting up Christmas decorations and preparing the roof-top patio for the refreshment station. I am ready to go!” Biles former home was also a tour stop a number of years ago.

2015 FOFW 8.5x11PRINTREADYFounded in 1977 by neighbors who visited each others’ homes to feast, sing carols and enjoy holiday décor, the tour has evolved over the years. In 1979, the event opened to the public and quickly became a successful fundraiser for the neighborhood. Tour proceeds benefit neighborhood projects such as neighborhood beautification, preservation of historic landmarks, and public art, social and safety programs.

Tickets, good for three days, are $25 and may be purchased online or at Alexander Michael’s Restaurant & Tavern, 401 W 9th St.; Park Road Books, 4139 Park Rd.; 7th Street Public Market, 224 E 7th St.; and all area Brixx Pizzas and Dean & Delucas. During tour hours, ticket holders must redeem their tickets for tour guidebooks at the tour ticket booth at the corner of 9th and Poplar Sts. in Fourth Ward or at the 7th Street Public Market. The ticket booth and market also will be the only locations for ticket purchases during the tour weekend.

The Fourth Ward Holiday Home Tour is presented by SkyHouse Uptown. Supporting sponsors include Allen Tate Realtors, 102.9 The Lake, FirstService Residential, 7th Street Public Market and Charlotte Center City Partners. Tour proceeds benefit the non-profit Friends of Fourth Ward neighborhood organization.

info: fofw.org.

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988,...