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’Tis the season

By Staff | Nov 29, 2013

Tim Chapman/PCT A Christmas tree splits a scenic view of the prairie south of Norval and Arlene Johnson’s home on 30th Ave. NE in Rugby. The Johnsons are one of four couples opening their doors for a Tour of Homes to benefit the Lyric Theater

Kay Gregurek was hesitant when first approached about opening her house for a Rugby Tour of Homes to benefit the Lyric Theater.

Gregurek didn’t know if her house, which once served as Jim Cameron’s garage, could add much to a tour likely to feature larger, beautiful homes.

“A lot of people would wonder, well, why is that garage gonna be in it?” Gregurek said. “But then they’re curious too.”

Travis and Kay Gregurek’s garage-turned-house at 204 4th Ave. SE is one of four unique homes on Sunday’s Tour of Homes, which runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at any of the four locations for $10.

The homeowners are excited to meet new people, show off decorations and the creativity that went into their homes while helping save the Lyric.

This crèche was originally owned by Willow City native Brekka Belisle’s Grandma Haakenson. “That’s just my favorite because that’s what Christmas is about. ... We decided to go all-out because we were gonna be on the tour,” Belisle said.

“I think the movie theatre is like a backbone to this community,” Kay Gregurek said.

Said Travis Gregurek: “It’s important to this community. They’ve expressed it there in meetings how important it was and there was a lot of people who stood up and said let’s save it.”

Norval and Arlene Johnson moved to Rugby two years ago after farming northeast of Knox in Pierce County for 46 years. The couple’s home at 6570 30th Ave. NE is on the most wide open property of the tour. A peaceful, wintry prairie scene will greet those on tour as large windows showcase the Johnson’s backdrop to the south.

A whiter-than-snow piano sits next to a Christmas tree and other holiday decorations in the living room.

“I thought now (people around town) can come see the house and, plus, I can talk and visit with them,” Arlene Johnson said. “It is for a good cause, so I thought, ‘Oh, I guess so.’ “

This wall decal serves as an important Christmas reminder in the bedroom at Travis and Kay Gregurek’s house. “We went from nine tubs of decorations to three and we made our little apartment look homey,” Kay said.

The Gregureks are also fairly new to the area, having moved from Minot in October 2012. Kay’s sister, Sheryl Cameron, was living in Rugby and the family was up for a project. A granite bar, counters and hot tub are among the additions to the old garage. With their kids grown, the smaller nook has turned into the comfortable alternative to their larger, former home in Minot. The lighting and decorations turn the garage into a Christmas cottage of sorts.

“We really downsized when we moved here, so it’s just kind of a hodge podge of what we really did,” Kay said. “We went from nine tubs of decorations to three and we made our little apartment look homey.”

Brekka and Corey Belisle are also hoping to satisfy inquiries in the community about their house at 105 4th St. SW. The German-style home was built in the 1970s and the Belisles have remodeled much of it the first four years living there. A cobblestone patio with a fire pit on the west side of the house has turned into a favorite spot for hosting people in the summer.

“It goes for a good cause,” Brekka Belisle said, “and I know with our house, there have been so many changes because people knew the previous owners, and we’ve done so much, that I know they’re curious about it and I don’t mind them coming and seeing what we’ve changed.”

She added that the family is going all-out for the tour. Christmas trees are up sooner than the Belisles typically get to them, as are favored decorations.

Marques and Ashley Stricker’s son Shanx Brossart has an owl watching over the Christmas decorating for the Tour of Homes. “I just thought it’d be fun. We decorate for Christmas anyway, so we might as well open up our house.” Ashley Stricker said.

“My most favorite is this nativity set,” Brekka Belisle said. “My dad’s mom, my Grandma Haakenson, had this and she passed away back in ’98, I believe it was, but this was hers and I got it, and that’s just my favorite because that’s what Christmas is about.”

Marques and Ashley Stricker are also featured on the tour with their house at 830 4th St. SW. Ashley Stricker said it was her favorite house to see growing up, so the couple jumped at the opening three years ago.

“I love to entertain,” Ashley Stricker said. “I do and I’ve been to the tour of homes a few times and I just thought it’d be fun. We decorate for Christmas anyway, so we might as well open up our house. The house has been completely painted. We just redid our entire fireplace, which was really cool. It was a wood burning fireplace and we changed it to a propane fireplace.”

Marques is an artist and those on the tour will see an incredible piece made out of pallets in their redone laundry room, which has a new wooden wall also done by Marques.

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