OLD SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — Organizers for this year's annual neighborhood home tour are mostly sticking with tradition, as would be expected in a community where things old-fashioned are to be cherished rather than changed.
Attendees of the Sunday event can again expect to travel partly by trolley or drive or bicycle along the self-guided tour through Seminole Heights, one of the area's oldest neighborhoods.
"We used to be along the trolley line for downtown Tampa," noted tour chairwoman Cathy Simon.
Nine homes featured in the Old Seminole Heights Home Tour include the community's trademark bungalows and a few newer houses, as well, built from 1915 to 2010. But even the more modern dwellings display touches of old, such as wide front porches with columns.
The showcase for one tour stop will be its scenic backyard garden overlooking the Hillsborough River.
Depending on the weather, organizers expect between 700 and 1,000 people. Past tours have drawn sightseers from California and Northern states, as well as South Florida — some "amazed" that the tour allowed them to go inside the houses, rather than simply drive by, Simon said.
The event is sponsored by the Old Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association in conjunction with the Old Seminole Heights Preservation Consortium.
As in years past, the journey begins at the Garden Center on Central Avenue, a meeting point for the neighborhood, where participants will get maps and wristbands allowing entry into the tour homes.
The tour is the community's biggest fundraiser, and money generated from ticket sales has traditionally gone toward neighborhood projects and local charities, such as donations to area schools, neighborhood porch parties, the association's newsletter, and the planting of trees. Organizers have not yet decided where this year's proceeds will be applied.