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806 Western Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

Wrap Up of the 36th Annual Christmas Tour

Submitted by Carol Gomrick

Was it smell of fresh pine from the recently hung swags in the neighborhood? Was it the bright blue skies contrasting with the chill in the air? Was it the sound of Dr. Dan’s leaf blower wiping out every trace of fall on Beech Ave? It was that and so much more which marked the coming of the 36th Annual Christmas Tour. This year, almost 1,600 people ushered in their Christmas season by walking through the lovingly decorated homes of Allegheny West. The weather was perfect, the glitches were few, and—if I dare say—by all accounts, the tour was a great success. As my first time managing the Christmas tour, I cannot thank everyone who stepped in and stepped up to make daunting tasks seem easy and the unintentionally overlooked details, a non-issue. It is truly because of you that the tour was such a success.

A very special thank you goes to the homeowners. I received a lot of feedback a how impressed the guests were with the homes this year. One guest, who has taken the tour over 15 times, actually took the time to email me directly to share that she thought 2017 was the best selection of homes she has visited to date. No doubt this guest and others came to this conclusion in no small way by the decorations at the Flashlight Factory. The re-purposing of flashlight pieces and parts was beyond ingenious, and such a tremendous addition to the tour. Congratulations to John Engle and Tom Cihil on tackling the after party. A lot of people needed some extra sleep on Sunday, so it was a great success! I would be completely remiss if I didn’t thank Tony and Diane Caruso. You both seem to always be there to jump in whenever needed and for whatever needs done. The list of how you both helped on this tour is too long to write, but beyond appreciated. Thank you.

I have to share that this tour was not without its challenges. It was the first time a service dog was on the tour. The homeowners were made aware in advance and all agreed they would accommodate. However, none of us expected a Great Dane! I should have taken pictures.

There are so many stories from the tour. Two are from the “Great Beech Ave Clean Up of 2017”. I’ll never forget Dr. Dan leaping through Beech Ave (with the greatest of ease), wielding his leaf blower like a warrior’s sword going into battle. Those leaves didn’t have a chance! OK, I’m using some dramatic license, but I’ll never be able to convince my mind’s eye from seeing a cape flowing behind him as he valiantly traveled up and down Beech Ave! My fondest memory is also from that day (not just because of Dr. Dan). Many saw Gloria Raymond and myself chipping away and cursing at the leaves stuck to the street. Trying to remove them was a formidable task. One by one, people stopped their cars, opened their front doors and came out with shovels, spades and whatever was needed to get the street cleaned and we did. The spirit of Christmas and the spirit of this neighborhood shined brightly that day. It will be forever etched in my memory as to what made this tour and what makes this neighborhood so special.

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays and I wish the blessings of the season to carry through for you in 2018.

Please contact me (carolgomrick@gmail.com) with any feedback for how to improve the tour for 2018.

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