HUDSON – The beautiful weather for the Home and Garden Tour and Festival Days brought out the crowds on its first day, June 14 from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. The tour continues Friday, June 15 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

The 71st annual Home and Garden Tour, organized by the Hudson Garden Club, begins on the Clocktower Green or at the Hudson Middle School where tickets can be purchased, and a booklet is presented with the tour houses and gardens listed inside. Visitors also receive booties to wear while touring the homes.

Proceeds from the Home and Garden Tour fund tree plantings in Hudson, scholarships for college students studying horticulture or related subjects, grants to fund club projects and programs, school programs, workshops and community beautification projects.

Kathy Fueger of Jackson Township said she has been taking the tour since 2011. She purchased a spoon and fork craft at the Hudson Middle School Garden Shop Thursday.

"We thoroughly enjoy looking at the houses and plants when we get here and go on the Home and Garden Tour," Fueger said.

Lynne Hershberger of Canton has been coming since 1982 and says she likes looking for landscaping ideas.

"A friend invited me, and it’s one of the things I enjoy coming to every year," Hershberger said. "I’ll come rain or shine."

Debbie Blakney has been a resident of Hudson for two months and purchased an 8-acre farm.

"I’ll have lots of landscaping to do next year," Blakney said. "It’s fun to see the architecture and gardens in the community. Women in Hudson take their gardens seriously."

Pat Blankeship, owner of Fair Trade on Main, sells items in the Garden Shop from seven of the 34 countries they stock in the store.

The Hudson Society of Artists has artwork displayed and for sale from 29 artists, with demonstrations (from 3-5 p.m. by Ann Kah on Thursday and Cathy Welner on Friday) at the Hudson Middle School. More art will be displayed Aug. 25 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Aug. 26 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m when Art On The Green comes to downtown Hudson.

Plein Air artists were at several homes. Sarah Greer, who grew up in Hudson before attending Kent State University to study painting, was at Pierce House, 223 College St., capturing the entranceway to the home of the Head Master of Western Reserve Academy. She was eager to paint the barn on the property.

"I kept my first horse in that barn," Greer said.

She now lives on a horse farm and owns five and boards 20 horses and runs a lot of equestrian events on South Farm in Middlefield.

"Hudson is the coolest place on earth," Greer said. "Kids who grow up here should pinch themselves and be grateful."

Plein Air artist Michelle Davis also lived in Hudson while attending school but now lives in Stow. She was painting the arbor in the backyard of Pierce House.

"I like everything about plein air, especially on days like today," Davis said. "I was a member of the Hudson Garden Club and have been on the tour. I have a lot of clients on the tour."

One of the reasons for attending the tour is to connect with old friends, according to Barb Petruccio, the hostess at Pierce House.

"It’s fun and you see a lot of people you know," Petruccio said. "So many people are from other cities. It’s amazing how far people come to view this event."

Jean Groborchik, who has lived in Hudson for 39 years and attended at least 30 Home and Garden Tours, said she loves the antiques, as she compares them to things she and her husband have seen on their world travels.

"The houses are gorgeous, and I’m into oriental rugs. I love each one," Groborchik said. "And we get to see a lot of friends on the tour."

The Hudson Garden Club members donated and arranged flowers inside and outside the homes. Hostesses shared the history of the homes to guests before entering and in the various rooms.

Helen McGill, a hostess and member of the garden club, said she joined because she wanted to learn about gardening.

"I love hostessing and seeing all the people who come through and sharing information about the homes with them," McGill said.

Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or lfreeman@recordpub.com