For 23 years, the Loretta Thomson Christmas Fantasy House has raised money for local charities. For the past three years, the beneficiary has been the Ronald McDonald House, which provides a “home away from home” for families of children receiving medical treatment at area hospitals.
This year’s event will be held in Delafield, and homeowner Lori Dentice is excited. “I can’t wait to see how it turns out!” she says.
More than 20 designers and 400 volunteers will transform her house — inside and out — into a wonderland of lights and holiday decorations. Visitors are sure to find inspiration in one of 30 rooms in the 10,000-square-foot mansion.
People can explore the house at their leisure and take in all the different decorations. “A lot of people come back to the same room two, three times,” says event co-chair Gail Johnson of Nashotah. Johnson has been involved with Christmas Fantasy House since the beginning.
“I love Christmas, and I also enjoy giving back to the community. We’ve raised over $2 million in our 23 years,” says Johnson.
The house is open to all ages, and kids especially will enjoy an elaborate train display in the garage. Advance tickets are available for $18 at participating Pick 'n Save stores, Stein Garden Centers and Penzey’s Spices; kids 12 and younger get in for free. Admission costs $20 at the door.
Visitors can also purchase home-baked goods in the Sweet Shoppe, assorted gifts in the Holiday Boutiqu, and ornaments for the Tree of Life, which will be displayed at the Ronald McDonald House.
A raffle also will be held for decorated wreaths, prize baskets, and Christmas decorations featured in the Festival of Trees. “In the past, there have been Harley-Davidson-themed trees, Waterford-ornament trees, and very cute things like flamingos,” explains Dentice, who has donated and decorated a tree for many years.
“One-hundred percent of what’s raised goes directly to the Ronald McDonald House, and I think that’s just great. They do such good work,” Dentice adds.
If you go
What: Christmas Fantasy House
Where: A free shuttle will run every 10 minutes from the Park & Ride at Highway 83 and I-94, near the Naga-Waukee Ice Arena.
When: 10 a.m.to5 p.m. Nov. 5, 6, 12, 13; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 7, 9, 10, 11