Stop and smell the roses! The 58th Annual House and Garden Walk takes place on July 31st, offering visitors an inside look at some of Door County’s finest homes and outdoor spaces. The highly anticipated event is organized by Door County Medical Center Auxiliary, who curate a one-of-a-kind experience for ticket holders each year. The event begins in Sturgeon Bay, extending North into Ellison Bay, and features a free artisan pop-up shop at Egg Harbor’s Woodwalk Gallery. This day-long adventure is also a fundraiser for Door County Medical Center’s hospice and skilled nursing facility.
A History of Service
The Door County Medical Auxiliary has served our community through its support of DCMC programming and volunteers for nearly 75 years. The first Auxiliary hospital fundraiser was back in 1944, when the hospital -then Door County Memorial- was located in an old hotel. Auxiliary members raised $1,000 for the hospital’s new location by organizing a canned food drive, “all of the canned goods were homemade at that time” notes Auxiliary Board President Jeff Heck.
Averaging 200 volunteer members, including a Board of Directors and numerous committees, the Auxiliary puts on two signature fundraising events each year: the House and Garden Walk in July and The Angel Ball in December, which raises scholarship funds for area high-school students and hospital employees seeking advanced degrees in medical fields.The planning for these annual events is essentially neverending, “we’ll do a debrief after Tuesday’s event and then immediately start planning next year’s walk,” says Jeff.
Cheryl Wederquist, Marketing Chair for the Auxiliary, says it’s worth the sustained effort because “it all goes back to the hospital and our community.”
A Great Cause
The Auxiliary chooses the areas to focus their fundraising and are committed to raise $250,000 over the next five years for Door County Medical Center’s Skilled Nursing Facility and Hospice Care Project.
“As we get older, more and more of us have an experience with end of life care,” says Volunteer Coordinator Robin Hamm-Jackson, “you get to where it becomes significant in your life.” Having personally struggled to find resources for her aging parent, she shares, “My mom was not well, and facilities were full everywhere. She needed a temporary nursing home and there wasn’t an opening at that level of care. Our options were a CBRF or drive down to Green Bay, and we weren’t going to take her away from home.”
“That’s why there’s a lot of passion behind this project,” says Robin.
Even more, the Auxiliary is starting a partnership with Turning Point, an organization that helps people with disabilities find useful ways to spend their time. Volunteers will work with their Turning Point life coach at the skilled nursing facility, where they will help patients with small tasks like getting meals.
Tradition Worth Keeping
After 57 years, visitors to the House and Garden Walk have come to expect a high-quality and unique event. Ticket holders experience narrated history, architectural delights, as well as artists and exquisite gardens up close and personal. This legacy of success has helped the event garner what can only be described as a following.
“A number of people come back every year as a group. They will all dress alike, with matching t-shirts,” says Jeff, “This year there are at least three buses coming from out of the county.”
The allure of seeing how Door County residents live isn’t reserved for tourists. “You’ll see generations there, mothers and daughters who have been coming every year and now they bring their granddaughters,” says Robin.“Families living here tend to go to one spot,” adds Cheryl, “this allows people who live here to see more of the county.”
Gloria Heck, Committee Chair of the event, says it’s a win-win situation, “You can see five incredible homes you would otherwise not see and the proceeds go to a great cause.”
The House and Garden Walk is Tuesday, July 31, 9am-5pm. Tickets are available at sponsored locations up through the day of the event for $30 or $35 on July 31st. For more information or to buy tickets, visit Door County Medical Center Auxiliary’s website or check them out on Facebook. Questions? Contact Robin Hamm-Jackson at 920-746-1071, extension 3.