York holiday tradition Twelfth Night Tour will go on after recent hurdles

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Mary Homsher was worried there wouldn't be a Twelfth Night Tour this year.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started more than two years ago, the concept of hundreds of strangers crowding in one house left some feeling wary.

The annual tour of homes, organized by the York Twinning Association, has been a beloved holiday tradition in the York County community. Homsher and other members did everything they could to ensure there would be a proud parade of both antique and modern homes.

"We just hit a dead end of finding homes, that I really thought this was going to be it — we weren't going to have a tour," Homsher said. "It's getting more and more difficult to get people to want to open their homes. But we have an incredible plethora of homes. I'm so excited about it."

Despite initial struggles, the York Twinning Association will have eight beautiful York homes featuring different architectural styles for touring. The event is slated from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 8.

Tickets will cost $25 and can be purchased the day of the event at St. Paul Lutheran Church, 25 W. Springettsbury Ave., or at York Central Market.

A group tours Heidelberg United Church of Christ during the York Twinning Association's annual Twelfth Night Holiday Tour at Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. This year's tour featured nine historic churches in York City. Bill Kalina photo

Funds raised during the Twelfth Night Tour will go toward the York Twinning Association's future endeavors.

The association was founded as an international cultural collaboration between York County and its European "sister city," Arles, France. With an emphasis on building relationships abroad and sharing cultures, the groups travel to each city.

"We send quite a few students to France and Germany," Homsher said. "The majority of this money of our fundraisers is to offer scholarships to area high school students that maybe their parents can't afford."

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Homes featured on the Twelfth Night Tour range in style.

Harpist Kris Snyder of Glenville tunes her instrument during the York Twinning Association's annual Twelfth Night Holiday Tour at Heidelberg United Church of Christ
 Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. This year's tour featured nine historic churches in York City. Bill Kalina photo

The John C. Schmidt Mansion, located at 900 S. George St., will feature 18 Christmas trees in the 2023 tour.

Likewise — and in keeping with the holiday spirit — a home on Rathton Road will feature more than 850 Christmas lights.

In addition to the tour of homes, the York Twinning Association will welcome a special guest for a reception at the Box Hill Mansion: Consul General François Penguilly from the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.

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"I wrote the French ambassador and I didn't really think I would get a reply," Homsher said. "But I did within a week and a half."

Mary Homsher and her husband Larry stand outside Christ Lutheran Church in York City Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022, while touting the York Twinning Association's holiday tour of York's historical churches. Mary is a fundraising chair for the event, which is a version of the traditional "Twelfth Night Tour" sponsored by the group. Christ Lutheran and eight other churches are featured on the tour. Bill Kalina photo

The reception will be a limited ticket event following the tour of homes. The $60 admission will include hors d’oeuvres, hot station, desserts and a cash bar with a signature drink, ”The French Connection."

Tickets to attend the reception are limited, and individuals who wish to purchase them should email Homsher at mary@vidmarkdist.com.