For nearly 20 years, the Spirit of 67 Foundation has been raising money for programs to enhance the education of District 67 students with a home tour like no other. While participants never know exactly which grand houses or estates are included until the day of the event, what they do know is that they will all be phenomenal.
“The Spirit of 67 Home Tour always represents the beauty and elegance of Lake Forest, the generosity of its patrons and sponsors, the camaraderie of friends that tour the homes together, and a unanimous interest in supporting the students in our town,” explains Courtney Turner, Vice President of Events for the Spirit of 67.
“Unlike most home tours, the Spirit of 67 Foundation’s signature event provides guests with the opportunity to experience multiple homes in one day, most within biking or walking distance. It entices every sense—visually stimulating décor; aromatic and colorful gardens; tasty small bites and beverages; and cheerful chatter with friends encountered along the way.”
This year’s “Home and Garden Tour,” held on Thursday, September 29, features four Lake Forest homes—including two located on Lake Michigan with breathtaking views of the water and beach. For the first time in the event’s history, the 2022 tour will feature both picturesque interiors and resort-like exteriors, all impeccably decorated to represent the finest in North Shore living.
“There are expansive backyards and gorgeous gardens in all, as well as cozy and intimate spaces,” Turner says. “The variety of homes and spaces that will be on tour perfectly characterize the allure of Lake Forest. We cannot wait for our guests to see them.”
The change was inspired by the success of last year’s tour, which was reinvented to accommodate COVID-19 restrictions.
“It was held almost entirely outdoors, mirroring the entertainment trends during the pandemic. Guests were able to enjoy the homes’ beautiful gardens, outdoor entertainment spaces, terraces, and pool houses,” adds Anna Theodore, VP of Communications. “The event was so successful and beautiful that we have decided to highlight outdoor spaces again while returning to featuring some interiors as well—giving our guests the best of both worlds.”
Guests who amble through the homes and gardens on this year’s tour will once again be able to enjoy small bites and beverages offered at each of the properties. The committee plans to highlight “tastes of the town” with samples from some of Lake Forest’s most coveted restaurants and caterers.
As always, local designers and shops will set tantalizing tables that will be available to win or purchase. Fabulous florals displayed at each home will also be included among the raffle options.
“The committee organizing the home tour works tirelessly to consider every detail which is what makes it enormously enjoyable for our guests,” Spirit of 67 President Nicole Korczak says, adding that the tour will also showcase some of the grants that are awarded to District 67 schools. “Many grant awards will be displayed and even demonstrated for guests to see first-hand how their support positively impacts our children’s education. Additionally, student musicians and singers will provide beautiful entertainment at each of the houses, highlighting the enhancements made to our arts and music programs in District 67.”
The first Spirit of 67 Home Tour was held in 2003 and has evolved throughout the years, cultivating a faithful following among District 67 families and North Shore home tour enthusiasts alike.
“At times it was held annually; other times it was held every other year,” Korczak explains. “Since many people are currently still enjoying time with friends in the fresh air, we are excited to take advantage of our beautiful Septembers and host the tour again in the fall this year. It is nice to have the gardens still flourishing and outdoor spaces on the cusp of changing from summer to autumnal entertainment spaces.”
Since its founding, the Spirit has contributed almost $6 million in grants to support excellence in District 67 schools—providing curricular enhancements, resources, and tools that enrich the educational experiences of all students. This lasting legacy is due to a team of dedicated volunteers, the generosity of district families, and the commitment of local businesses to support the mission of the Spirit.
“Throughout their education in the district, our children benefit from grants in language arts, fine arts, wellness, math, technology, emotional wellness, science, social studies, and world language,” she says. “Each year, grant requests can be submitted by any of our stakeholders—teachers, principals, parents, or students who identify an opportunity to add enrichment to the curriculum—who write and submit a request for a grant.”
It takes a village indeed, Turner is quick to add, thanking everyone involved for making this signature fundraiser a reality. She says guests often cherish the program book they receive with admission and report feeling inspired to make enhancements to their own homes after the tour.
“We hope everyone feels welcome to attend—whether you have students in our district or not. It is not unusual for grandparents, neighbors, alumni, or friends to join in on this special fundraising event,” concludes Korczak. “It easily becomes the talk of the town. Let’s just say the Spirit of 67 home tour will be the place to be on September 29.”
Tickets are $125 ($100 for current Spirit of 67 Donors) and can be purchased by visiting hometour2022.givesmart.com.