Belen

Old-fashioned homes, food and garb will be combined for this Sunday’s Belen Summer Garden Tea Party and Home Tour.

The party features tours of some of Belen’s most beautiful homes and gardens, refreshments served in an old-fashioned garden setting and hosts and guests in vintage attire.

“It’s like an old Sunday social,” said Barbara Torres, the organizer of the party.

Torres organized the function four years ago to benefit the Valencia Shelter for Domestic Violence.

“I knew they (the shelter) needed to raise money,” she said. Torres is now on the shelter’s board.

Last year’s tea party ticket sales raised approximately $2,300 for the shelter. “I strive to make as much as I can for the shelter,” she said.

Torres said nearly 150 people participated last year, and she hopes for even more this year.

Torres, an owner of an old home, found others with old houses, antiques and gardens and decided to put them on display.

“We chose older homes, to make people see how neat they are. We want people to preserve them,” Torres said.

This year’s tour will feature the homes of Ronnie and Barbara Torres, Jerry and Rosemary Montoya, Ray and Kay Hawthorn, and Tim and Janice Lardner.

The Torres’ home is among the oldest in Belen. The house is decorated in Victorian style, with antique furniture, a large fenced-in lawn and rose garden. It is the third old home in Belen that the Torreses have restored.

The Montoyas will be serving tea in the shade of their garden. Their home was originally across from an orchard in the 1940s and occupied by the orchard owners.

The Hawthorn home was built in 1936 by the area’s prominent Lovett family. It’s filled with antiques, such as old Raggedy Ann dolls, other collectable dolls and items and rooms devoted to patriotism, with early Americana quilts and decor, children’s toys, and vintage clothes. “It’s so full of antiques, it looks like a store,” Torres said.

The Lardner home is the only new house on the tour. Designed by the Lardners, the home has custom features, such as a wine cellar, winding staircases and a large balcony. The home has a blend of antique and new decor.

Janice Lardner said, “We are fortunate to be in a place like this, and we like to do anything we can to help out.”

Torres said all the participants in the home tour were interested in helping any way they could. She said they were also excited to dress up and have guests.

Torres said guests are not required to dress up, but many do.

The party begins at 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased at Hair Inno-vations. The tickets have directions to all the homes printed on them.

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Julia Selby Smith