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The welcome mat is out for home tour

Leaves are beginning to splash color all over town, as ladies are getting ready to paint it.

The 32nd annual Damien Fall Home Tour is set to be one filled with extravagance, imagination and themed-brilliance.

The tour of homes is held every year as the Damien Society's one and only fundraiser.

This year, five homes were chosen, as its gracious homeowners open up their humble abodes to the masses -- about 375 people to be exact.

"There are men that come, too," said DelRae Chivers of the Damien Society, "but I know this is a great ladies' day out where they can just go from place to place and see the imagination of others and their decorating ideas -- it's our own little HGTV moment, except you're seeing it in 4-D."

How it works is, with the purchase of a ticket, you receive a map to the homes.

From there, it is up to the tourists to find their way from house to house at their leisure.

And for one house, leisure is the name of the game, as each of the five houses will be decorated in a theme. "One of the houses will have a vacation theme," explained Chivers, "so the Damien members at that house will be dressed for vacation -- you might even see a bikini or two," she laughed.

The homeowners will not be home, but Damien Society members will be there modeling theme attire, armed with tidbits of information on that particular house.

"We also have a 'Wedding Day' theme," said Chivers, "so we'll have everything, right down to a groom -- and all our members are women, so that should be interesting!"

Another home will present an "Evening Wear" theme, where the ladies will be all glammed up and ready for a sophisticated party.

Accessories are the things to have at the fourth house, as the models will be inundated with fabulous (and possibly gaudy) accessories.

The last house will be inspired by gratitude.

The "Thank You" house is the place that will really "make it all hit home" for visitors who are making a difference with their participation.

"People will see pamphlets and posters of all the organizations that will be benefited from the proceeds of the tour," said Chivers, "and the women there will be modeling logo-wear from each of the organizations to thank everybody for coming out and supporting them."

Chivers says the Damiens will be splitting the proceeds of the tour among 20 local, charitable organizations.

This is the one big fundraiser they hold annually that supports organizations including the Boys and Girls Club, the Crisis Center, the Library, the Becker County Food Pantry and many more.

The Damien Society is a charitable organization that branched out from a sorority 61 years ago.

The group, rich in tradition, continues their old favorite "Mitten Trees" around the city, as well as providing Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to the less fortunate, and Christmas gifts to a handful of families.

Another oldie, but goodie, is the Home Tour.

Chivers says the houses featured are different every year, chosen by Damien Society members.

"And it's not always the McMansion," said Chivers. "We do have a big, statuesque home, but then we've also got a town home and everything in-between."

Chivers says what makes a great tour home isn't necessarily the value of the home, but the imagination that goes into it.

"When the home owners' personalities show through, that's what makes them lovely," said Chivers. "There is an aspect of the home where they said, 'this is us; this is how we live,' and that's always a score."

Chivers says the Damiens are incredibly thankful for homeowners willing to open up their homes for a good cause, "because without them we obviously wouldn't be able to do this."

There are only two rules for the tour: No children under 10 years of age, and socks must be worn.

The event is being held Saturday, Oct. 1, from 12:30 to 4 p.m. -- another tradition for the Damiens.

"It's always the first weekend in October -- a decision made many years ago because the husbands were all off hunting," said Chivers.

Tickets for the event are $15. You can get them at La De Da Gifts and Floral, the Detroit Lakes Newspapers, Jack Chivers Realty, DL Paint and Glass and the DL Chamber of Commerce.