Decorated houses let in visitors to raise money

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COLUMBIA - The Women's Symphony League kicked off the annual Holiday Home Tour, which is its biggest fundraiser of the year.

Nancy Griggs, chair of the Holiday Home Tour committee, said the Women's Symphony League is a fundraising arm of the Missouri Symphony Society.

"All of our money goes toward projects for the Missouri Symphony Society. We have a wonderful conservatory of 120 young people, and in the summer, we do Hot Summer Nights with our professional Missouri Symphony Orchestra."

The society is a nonprofit that brings music to Columbia and provides education to young performers. This is the 33rd year of the tour, and Griggs said she thinks people like seeing decorations actually inside a home.

"Well, I think it gets them in the holiday spirit. They get to see beautiful decorations in a natural home setting," Griggs said. "You can go into a store and see decorations, but there's nothing like seeing them actually in a home and how they are being used, so I think people enjoy it, and if they don't have time to decorate their own home, they can see another home that's very pretty."

This year's tour features two private homes and two public homes, and the owners take care of all of the decorations themselves.

"The university system hired a decorator from Jefferson City that came in and decorated all of the rooms. Over at the chancellor's house, one of the staff of the Mizzou Botanic Garden decorated it all with the Columbia Garden Club's help, and then Megan Hoyt, who's on the tour, is a designer herself, so she decorated hers, and Melissa Holyoak decorated hers," Griggs said.

Heather Darby, a member of the Women's Symphony League, shared her thoughts on the decorations at Providence Point, the UM System President's house.

"I think it's a lovely public space, and I think it also would be a wonderful home to live in," Darby said. "The spaces are all gorgeous."

The houses are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.