Parade of Homes benefits Renewal Ranch

Carol Rolf Contributing Writer Published November 25, 2012 at 12:00 a.m.
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Carol Rolf / Contributing Photographer

Decorations at the home of Kevin and Laine Berry, 1926 Scott St., will be fun and frivolous. Their formal dining-room table holds Department 56’s Grinch Village, complete with scenes from Whoville.

As the holidays rush in, Renewal Ranch invites the public to its second annual Parade of Homes, set for 5-8 p.m. Dec. 8. Renewal Ranch is a nondenominational, faith-based program for men with alcohol or drug addictions.

The following will participate in the Parade of Homes:

• The Ward Mansion Bed and Breakfast, 1912 Caldwell St.;

• The Horton-Zinn home, 2006 Robinson Ave.;

• The Bahner/Berry home, 1926 Scott St.; and

• Four Winds Chapel, 5031 W. Prince St.

Tickets are $10 and are available at a variety of locations throughout Conway, at all participating homes on the day of the tour or by calling Lee Woodard, an assistant bunkhouse manager in charge of marketing at Renewal Ranch, at (501) 548-5493.

“Refreshments will be served at Four Winds Chapel,” Woodard said. “There will also be Christmas carolers and a handbell choir at the chapel. We think patrons will first visit the three homes located downtown, and then come to the chapel as the last stop on the tour.”

Proceeds from the Parade of Homes will benefit Renewal Ranch, which opened its doors to clients in January 2011 with no cost to those who are accepted into the program. James Loy, director, said the first bunkhouse was designed for 12 men but now houses 18.

“We are now in Phase 2 of our program,” said Loy, who added that 25 men have graduated from the program, and three more will graduate on the morning of Dec. 8. “We have eight other men housed at a location across town who are graduates of the program, and we are helping them work their way back into the community.

“We are very excited about this phase. It’s a mentoring program in which we have one-on-one participation. We are committed to getting these men all the help we can, whether it is with employment or their spiritual walk. As the Bible says, ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.’”

Loy said he is “very excited” about the Parade of Homes.

“The Lord continues to bless this ministry and opens up opportunities for us to help others,” he said. “Admission to the tour is quite reasonable. We hope this will be an ongoing event for Renewal Ranch. We are thankful to all for opening up their homes.”

Following is a glimpse of the four participants:

Ward Mansion Bed and Breakfast

The Ward Mansion Bed and Breakfast is owned by Joanne Stevens. First built in the 1950s by Dave Ward, founder of Ward Bus Co., the 18-room house was restored by Stevens in 2007 and opened in the spring of 2008 as a bed and breakfast.

Stevens will be assisted by interior designer Ivo Jones in decorating the mansion for the holidays.

“It will be very simple, but elegant,” Stevens said, noting that all public areas of the B&B will be open for the tour. These areas include two bedroom suites upstairs and one bedroom suite downstairs, along with two living rooms and a dining room.

“We will use lots of fresh cedar and pine, along with white candles and clear Christmas balls,” she said. “Very simple, very elegant.”

Jones added: “We’ll also use magnolia leaves, nuts and berries. I’ll do some mantle pieces and wreaths as well. It will have a Williamsburg feel.”

Horton-Zinn home

Beth Horton-Zinn said she will keep her Christmas decorations “very simple” this year.

“I am in a Bible study about simplifying your life,” she said. “I usually go over the top at Christmastime, but this year, I’m going in a more natural direction.

“I’m an artist and have made many of my own decorations. I’ve made jute and burlap ornaments for one of the trees, and I’ve used natural berries and pine cones to decorate with in the living room, where the main tree is filled with glass ornaments. I’ve used white poinsettias where I used to use red.

“Peter (her husband, Peter Zinn) and I have been scaling back the house for about a year and a half, now. We’re trying to get back to a natural look. I think people who come here will be able to see more of the house than the decorations. I’m very happy to have it open.”

Beth Horton-Zinn and her first husband, Gerald Horton, built the house in 1989. Beth said the entire house will be open to visitors on Dec. 8.

Bahner-Berry home

Kevin and Laine Berry bought the Bahner house, which was built in 1909, in April 2011 and completely gutted it. They are still in the process of remodeling the Victorian home. Only the downstairs of the home will be open during the Parade of Homes tour.

“The house is decorated in the Victorian style, complete with artwork and antiques,” she said. “But during Christmas, we are very bright and frivolous.

“I’ve never cared for Department 56 villages, but a few years ago, they came out with The Grinch Village, and I had to have it. When I was growing up, it was never Christmas until we watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

The Grinch Village, which includes The Whoville music shop, toy store, bakery and banquet hall, as well as Cindy-Lou Who’s House, is laid out on the couple’s formal dining-room table.

“Our Christmas is like Candy Land,” she said, “all white and pink.”

Chapel at Four Winds

Pat Ott and her husband, Robert Ott, now deceased, built the Chapel at Four Winds 17 years ago. Pat recalls that after a trip to New England “to see the trees, we were impressed with all the little chapels we saw along the way. We came home, talked about it and decided to build a chapel on our farm (Four Winds). Bob always said, ‘I just want people to think of God when they look at this chapel.’”

Over the years, the chapel has been the site of weddings and other special events. Pat said she decorates the old-fashioned way.

“I do green wreaths with red bows on the windows and place a candle in each window that shines when it gets dark,” she said. “I also put a wreath on the door.”

Pat has turned over the management of the chapel to her daughter, Courtnie Pledger, who said she would continue her mother’s “traditional” way of decorating the chapel this year.

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