Our Pick of the Week…is the Venice Garden & Home Tour which takes place this Saturday, May 3rd from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. It’s a great way of helping out an important cause (NYA)…while having a fabulous time. If you’ve ever wondered….”What’s it like in all those fabulous homes and gardens?” This is the event for you.

T2014-VeniceGardenTour-flyerhe Venice Garden Tour has been blooming successfully each year for the past twenty-one years. Created by Venice locals Jay Griffith, Jan Brilliot, Linda Lucks and produced by Barbara Baumann…the annual event began as a grass roots effort to help the Neighborhood Youth Association.

It all started when forty-one year Venice resident and architect Jay Griffith led an impromptu tour around Venice. “I took twelve clients of mine on a hand-held, impromptu garden tour. Then, coerced $100 out of each of them at the end of the tour,” recalls co-founder Jay Griffith.

Each year, the Venice Garden and Home Tour allows visitors a glimpse into over thirty gardens and homes all over Venice. This year’s tour will include homes on the charming Walk Streets east of Abbot Kinney Boulevard and the beach Walk Street neighborhood adjacent to the colorfully chaotic Venice Boardwalk.

LVGardenTour-Jim-Melanie-Staud 131114 0371ongtime resident, James Murez is probably best known for managing the Venice Farmers Market each Friday. Murez and his wife Melanie have been busy creating their Venice dream home since 1999. Since inception of the Garden tour they have been loyal supporters of the annual charity event.  Murez explains, “When Linda Lucks, one of the founders asks for a little donation… well let’s just say who can refuse her!”

See photo (of a Lap pool – in the home of James and Melanie Murez).

This will be the FIRST year that 800 Main, now an established event venue and home to James and Melanie Murez will be featured on the tour. In fact they will be hosting an after-party for the event which starts at 5:00 pm (right when the tour ends) and will run until midnight. See Saturday’s Events (scroll down) for more info and admission charge. http://www.800main.com/

Linda Lucks (co-founder of VGHT) is currently the president of the Venice Neighborhood Council and is an active member of the Venice community. “The VGHT tour has grown beyond our wildest dreams.” says Lucks. “We started with ten homes with balloons and Jay Griffith walking people to each home. Now 30 or more homes are featured and every neighborhood in Venice has been covered several times, as the route changes each year so the tour stays fresh.”

PPOWVGHT-EricStaudenmaierhoto by Eric Staudenmaier

If you are not familiar with Venice…there are some incredible “Walk Streets” spread out throughout our beachside community…just inland from the ocean as well as some located east of Abbot Kinney. I’ve been on the tour many times and I was simply amazed at the gardens, not only the floral landscapes, but the huge trees hidden in these enchanting secluded backyards. For more info on what types of homes will be featured, see our Upcoming Events Page for the preview article with info provided by event coordinator and producer Barbara Baumann.  

The Venice Garden & Home Tour has attracted visitors from all over California becomiing a well known successful annual fundraiser providing financial support to the Neighborhood Youth Association. 

Here’POW VGHT-byEricStaudenmaiers some info on the Neighborhood Youth Association:

NYA provides an after school program for children and youth from low-income families. The non profit offers these kids an individualized academic support and comprehensive life skills development in a sustained and focused manner over the critical years of their lives that allow them to achieve a successful and productive adulthood.

Photo by Eric Staudenmaier.

The 2014 self-guided, walking Venice Garden & Home Tour starts at the Neighborhood Youth Association, 1016 Pleasant View Avenue (between California and Broadway) in Venice at 10:00am and continues until 5:00pm. Neighborhood parking is available as are shuttle vans and restaurants.

Biking is encouraged. Tax-deductible, non-refundable rain-or-shine tickets are $60 advance, $70 the day of the event.

Children under 12 years of age are admitted free. For tickets and information, please call 310-821-1857 or visit the website www.venicegardentour.org.