Callaway town hosts Memorial Tree, holiday home tour

Judi Plummer of Portland decorates her home — the former St. Mark’s Episcopal School for Boys — in Victorian style for the holidays each year and then opens it up to the public. This year’s Christmas House Tour is 2-7 p.m. Sunday.

Judi Plummer of Portland decorates her home — the former St. Mark’s Episcopal School for Boys — in Victorian style for the holidays each year and then opens it up to the public. This year’s Christmas House Tour is 2-7 p.m. Sunday.

PORTLAND, Mo. — Callaway County’s seasonal celebrations continue Sunday with the lighting of Portland’s Memorial Tree and the Christmas House Tour of the former St. Mark’s Episcopal School for Boys.

The candlelight Memorial Tree Lighting Ceremony will be at 5 p.m. at the Portland Community Center.

The main feature of the ceremony — which serves as a fundraiser for the center — will include a reading of names of loved ones who have passed away and hanging ornaments with their names written on them, followed by hot chocolate and cookies. The ornaments can be purchased for $5, and the tree will remain lit throughout the holidays.

Event organizer Carolyn Leeper said she looks forward to the Memorial Tree because it provides an opportunity to bond with neighbors during the holidays.

“The community comes together, and it seems like people do that less and less these days,” Leeper said.

She said the money raised this year will go toward the last few projects to complete construction of the new center.

“The building is not quite done — we need some kind of finish for the floor, and trim for the doors,” she said. “Other than that, there are just a few small things.”

Also Sunday, Judi and Bob Plummer will be opening their home — the former St. Mark’s Episcopal School for Boys from 1890-99 — for tours 2-7 p.m.

Judi Plummer said she has spent the past month decorating the home in Victorian style, along with themed rooms including “Santa’s Toy Land” with toys dating from the 1930s.

“We have a lot of fun doing this,” Plummer said. “Come ring in the Christmas season with this festive home that will put you in the Christmas spirit.”

There is no charge for the tour, but donations are accepted, with proceeds to go to help local children in need through the Plummers’ church.

To purchase ornaments for the Memorial Tree, call Leeper at 573-676-5429. To visit the former St. Mark’s School for Boys at 10402 Missouri 94, turn south at the top of the hill and follow the driveway to the house on the bluff.

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