Around Town

WOW house tour promises ‘surprises’ at each stop

A tree adorned with Buffalo plaid décor is among the many unique decorations on the Westfield on Weekends’ Holiday House Tour Dec. 8. (Photo by Hope E. Tremblay)

WESTFIELD – Tis’ the season for DecemberFest, a wide variety of events for all ages, hosted by Westfield on Weekends.

One of the highlights of DecemberFest is the Holiday House Tour, slated Dec. 8 from 12 – 4 p.m. Admission is $20 per person.

Leanne and Ed Jaeger are among the city residents opening up their home for the tour.

“We wanted to support Westfield on Weekends (WOW) in their cultural programs throughout the year,” said Leanne Jaeger. “In addition, we have enjoyed many house tours ourselves in Westfield and the surrounding area. Now that we live in an older home ourselves, we look forward to sharing it with others.”

The couple, lifelong city residents, will decorate their home with mainly natural materials including holly, evergreens, florals and fruits.

“The materials we use to create our decorations come from our own yard and the properties of friends and family,” added Jaeger. “We also purchase items from local businesses and farm stands.”

Jaeger noted that because of the limited life span of natural materials, she will gather nature’s bounty a week prior to the tour.

“We traditionally decorate our mantel with juniper and other evergreens,” she said, adding that because their fireplace has a gas insert, using natural materials does not present a fire hazard.

Jaeger said an added touch at their home will include serving seasonal breads and mulled cider for attendees.

“We hope those who tour our home will leave with the Spirit of Christmas in their hearts,” she said.

The Jaeger home will be one of six private homes on the tour as well as the Dewey House, a Westfield landmark, built in the 1700s.

Betty Faulhaber, chairperson of the house tour committee, said the holiday house tour is a “money-making event” that supports many of WOW’s events that are offered free to the public.

It takes a small village to coordinate logistics for an undertaking of this magnitude and Faulhaber is joined by Cindy Bronson, Ed Orgill, Bob Plasse, Jean Rosenblum, Carol Saltus, Barbara Trant and Tania Vancini.

Faulhaber, formerly from Chicago, became a member of WOW in 2016.

“WOW is a mainstay in Westfield,” said Faulhaber. “According to our mission statement, ‘We are a volunteer, nonprofit organization devoted to enriching the creative vitality of our community through accessible artistic and cultural events, programs and entertainment.’”

Faulhaber added “WOW promotes Westfield as a city with rich history and a vibrant multicultural heritage that supports cultural and community events that engage citizens, volunteers and visitors under one banner.”

One of the city’s landmarks, the Dewey House, will once again be on the tour.

Celina Collier is seen at the Dewey House making orange and clove pomanders in the formal parlor. (Submitted photo)

“The members of the Dewey House Board of Trustees are excited to be part of this event as it gives us a unique chance to show off our beautiful 1700’s home to those who might not otherwise even know it is a landmark in Westfield,” said Julie Leavitt, second vice president and program director, Western Hampden Historical Society (WHHS). “Run by the WHHS, it also gives us a chance to encourage people to sign up as members to help keep our historical home thriving for future generations.”

Leavitt noted there will be raffles for guests that have been donated from area businesses or gift baskets that have been created with the holidays in mind.

Committee members want attendees to be surprised and delighted at all of the homes selected so few details are shared before the tour day.

“A few unique features of the homes on the tour include a 9-foot Christmas tree decorated with Christopher Radko ornaments, a vintage Santa Claus collection including a celluloid Santa from the 1920s, and an extensive Christmas caroler collection,” said Faulhaber.

Faulhaber noted that the home styles range from a colonial, a cape and a New England farmhouse, to a Victorian duplex, two Queen Anne Victorians, and one featuring Italianate architecture.

“It brings us closer as a community by inviting people into our homes and allowing them to appreciate the beautiful homes and the vibrant history that is Westfield,” said Faulhaber.

Tickets for the house tour can be purchased on Dec. 8 at the Rinnova Building, 105 Elm St. or through PayPal. Also, tickets are available at the Blended Vintage Market, 48 Elm St.; Rosewood Home & Gifts, 34 Elm St.; Westfield Athenaeum, 6 Elm St., and the Pilgrim Candle Marketplace, Bismarck Place/16 Union Ave.

The tour begins at 105 Elm St.

As part of WOW’s Decemberfest festivities, the annual Tree Jubilee is planned Nov. 29, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Nov. 30, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Dec. 7, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Dec. 8, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., at the Creative Arts Center, 105 Elm St. 

Events also planned include a Lantern Light Family Workshop on Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and will be free for all. At press time, a location for the workshop was still pending. Later that day on the Park Square, a Lantern Light Parade and Mayor’s Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. The Westfield High School Show Choir will present a concert as part of the evening fun.

DecemberFest sponsors include Westfield Bank, Baystate Health & Baystate Noble Hospital, with funding in part by the Westfield Cultural Council, a local program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

For more details on all Decemberfest events, visit

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