This Valentine’s Day, fall in love with Willo.
That’s the motto for the 22nd annual Willo Historic District Home Tour and Street Fair that will take place this Sunday, February 14.
The tour, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., provides an opportunity for people to explore the historic neighborhood of Willo, located between Central and 7th avenues and McDowell and Thomas roads. The neighborhood includes homes dating back to the early 1900s, and the tour will feature 10 homes of a variety of architectural styles ranging from bungalows to Tudors to Ranches. The Phoenix Fire Department also opens its historic firehouse to the tour every year.
Willo district president Brad Brauer has lived in the neighborhood since 2004 and says the feeling of being part of a community is what makes Willo a great place to live. He describes the residents as a “very close-knit group” who “care about where they live.”
However, you don’t have to be searching for a home to attend the tour. Brauer says it is a fun, inexpensive way for anyone to spend their day. “It’s a chance to look back in time at homes that we’re not building anymore,” Brauer says. “They have a lot of character to them and it’s also nice to see what people have done to them over the last 50, 60, 80 and almost 100 years, and kind of get some ideas for your own homes.”
If you’ve been to the event before, you’ll still enjoy this year’s tour, since none of the 10 homes have been displayed for the last three years. Residents are required to wait a minimum of three years before signing up for the tour again so that it “doesn’t become stale,” Brauer says.
Brauer says participants can expect a “good vibe” at the event, and people of all ages can enjoy it. In addition to a tour of the homes, there is also a street fair at Walton Park where 101 vendors will sell products such as food, beverages, handcrafted goods and artwork. A local band, Fall Away, will be performing throughout the day. According to Brauer, about 3,000 people buy tickets for the tour and another 1,000 simply go to view vacant homes for sale or attend only the street fair.
Tickets are $13.75 online and must be purchased before 1 p.m. on Saturday. They are $15 the day of the tour and can be purchased at 3rd Avenue and Holly Street beginning at 9 a.m. Children 12 years and younger are free when accompanied by a paying adult. The money raised from ticket purchases goes directly into Willo, Brauer says.
For those driving, parking will be available within Willo and at the parking garage on the corner of 1st Avenue and Holly Street. For those taking the light rail, Willo is easily accessible from the Encanto Boulevard and Central Avenue station. Free vintage trolleys will be provided throughout the day to help participants get from house to house.