Christmas Tours Net $25k for Community Programs

GOSHEN – More than 450 guests kicked off the Christmas season enjoying a close-up, inside look at the festive holiday décor of the seven Goshen homes participating in Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan, and Ulster’s annual Goshen Christmas House Tour. Now in its fifth year, the Tour also included stops at two historic Goshen locations – Limoncello Restaurant at the Orange Inn and the Orange County Tourism Office, which featured the beautiful 1841 Courthouse, curated by the Orange County Historian.

The day full of Christmas fun and festivities, hosted on the first Saturday of December, raised more than $25,000. The funds will support Catholic Charities’ programs in the community, including emergency food and shelter assistance and addiction prevention and treatment.

The Tour launched from the historic Harness Racing Museum in the heart of Goshen which was also open for guests to visit. During check-in at the Museum, guests were treated to live holiday music and singing provided by students and teachers from the Goshen High School Music Department. They also enjoyed a variety of fresh-baked goods donated by ShopRite Supermarkets, home-made cookies from the Bellvale Burderhof Community, and hot apple cider courtesy of Soons Orchards. Student volunteers from John S. Burke Catholic High School and Goshen High School assisted homeowners with a variety of tasks throughout the day to welcome guests and help the Tour run smoothly.

“It takes a great many people to make the Goshen Christmas House Tour a reality each year,” said Susan Murray-Tetz, House Tour Committee Chairperson and Catholic Charities Board member. “Catholic Charities is incredibly blessed to have the support of so many generous community members who play a role in making this a great community day and successful fundraiser. We are grateful to our homeowners, as well as the Harness Racing Museum, Limoncello, and Orange County Office of Tourism, for opening their hearts and their homes to our guests to raise much-needed funds to support Catholic Charities’ mission to provide help and create hope for our neighbors in need,” added Ms. Murray-Tetz.

Each home was unique in its decorating style and Christmas displays. This year’s Tour also featured a variety of architectural style and eras – from new construction to an 1870s grand Goshen classic. For homeowners, the Tour kicked off Friday evening with a house blessing provided by Father George Hafemann, pastor at Church of St. John the Evangelist. The festivities ended Saturday evening with a dinner reception for homeowners at the Harness Racing Museum. The wrap-up reception provided the homeowners and their families a chance to relax, unwind, and swap stories from the day with each other, committee members, and volunteers.

Before heading out on the self-guided Tour, participants received a Guidebook which featured a map, photo, and description of each location, as well as advertisements, special offers, and holiday wishes from House Tour sponsors and supporters.

Planning is already under way for the 2020 Catholic Charities Goshen Christmas House Tour, which will be held Saturday, December 5. Anyone interested in featuring their home on the 2020 Tour should contact Sheila Toohey at 845.294.5124, x308, or

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