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Fulton Heights Holiday Tour this Saturday

SALISBURY — When Eric and Sherri McKnight talk about what attracted them to their 1924 home on Wiley Avenue, a recurring emphasis is placed on Fulton Heights.

“We loved the neighborhood, the fact that we could walk in it and feel safe,” said Sherri.

“I was in real estate before, so I knew about Fulton Heights a long time ago,” Eric added. “I’ve always liked it because it was one of those early-American-type neighborhoods. It was probably one of the first subdivisions in the Southeast.”

This year, the two are participating in an annual tradition that highlights the feelings of community and nostalgia: the Fulton Heights Holiday Tour.

From 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, four Fulton Heights households will open their historic homes for refreshments, conversation and tours. Each home is decorated for the holidays. The cost of the tour is $10.

It’s a tradition that started informally in 2006, then was taken over by the Fulton Heights Neighborhood Association as it grew in popularity — both in participating homes and people who wanted to peek inside historic homes.

The McKnights are one of four participating hosts this year. Their home — a two-bedroom, two-bath with an expansive front porch at 405 Wiley Ave. — features original wood flooring and trim.

Heart pine floors and oak trim, Eric specified. The pristine walls are also the original plaster, despite the major renovations the home underwent in 2010.

Eric and Sherri say the home is “just enough” for them. They moved from Kannapolis two years ago after getting married.

“We didn’t have to do anything, really,” said Sherri. “We’re in our 70s, and we didn’t want to have to remodel and do all that stuff.”

The McKnights were instead able to combine their households with ease. Their furniture a mixture of Victorian pieces that complement their new home’s traditional architecture.

Now ready and waiting for Saturday’s tour, Sherri has lovingly filled each of room with a lifetime of collected Christmas paraphernalia.

“My wife’s an artist. She collects stuff,” said Eric in a gentle and loving tease. “She’s been collecting stuff for Christmas for about 50 years.”

Her status as an artist adds another element in the home’s holiday decor: each piece of wall art is seasonally replaced with original paintings by Sherri or her artistic family members.

There are still-life shots of ornaments and baubles. There’s a snowy landscape and pictures of her children bundled for the cold. Each is detailed and vibrant — though Sherri has been painting for only seven years.

These two creative passions of decor and painting are married year round for the natural-borne artist.

“I have a she shed. That’s where I keep my Christmas and where I paint,” Sherri said.

Other homes on this year’s tour include:

• Elizabeth and Forrest Anderson, 204 Maupin Ave.

• Mary and Bryan Wymbs, 203 Mitchell Ave.

• Tory Curren and Trevor Epperhimer, 206 Maupin Ave.

Each site will have brochures available with information on participating locations.

Residents of Fulton Heights can pay their annual $20 dues at any location.

Visitors can pay the donation at any home on the tour.

“It’s going to be fun,” said Sherri. “Everybody’s going to have some refreshments. Just come out, walk through and meet your neighbors.”

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