Though Sunday's warmer weather made it feel a bit like early fall, inside several historical Quad-Cities homes, it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Hundreds of people toured the Hauberg Civic Center in Rock Island; the Butterworth Center and Deere-Wiman house in Moline during the homes' holiday open houses.
The three were decorated to the nines with several Christmas trees, lights and beautiful garlands, and they were filled with warmth, laughter and the smell of cinnamon and cookies.
Attendees enjoyed tours; short history lessons; punch, cookies and other treats; carriage rides; kids' crafts, music and more.
"I got a picture with Santa," said Bryce Lowry, 8, of Rock Island, who colored at Hauberg with his mom, Erica; brother, Drake, 11; and grandmother, Kim Block.
The family said it was their first trip to the Center, and they were enjoying a scavenger hunt and coloring.
Bryce said the dining room was his favorite in the house -- "because it has candy!"
His grandmother said she has been to the event several times and enjoys it every year.
"This is a beautiful home to tour," she said. "I love it. I love this house."
Not far from the kids' craft room where Bryce and his family colored was a larger room with a piano where a girl sang and a boy played. Santa happily waited in the room, greeting several smiling children while their parents took photos.
John and Allanette Mueller, of Rock Island, brought their granddaughter, Delanie Franklin, 5, to the event on Sunday.
"We have wanted to do this for years," Ms. Mueller said.
The sights and the scavenger hunt were great, she said. "I think it's wonderful, and the people are cheerful."
Delanie added she enjoyed the snowflake cookies.
Across the Quad-Cities, Ruben Guerrero, of Moline, wandered the dining room of the Deere-Wiman house with his sister, Mae Ashcraft, of Geneseo. Mr. Guerrero said he was along because his sister invited him, but he enjoyed seeing all of the woodwork, the carpets and the workmanship of the home.
"I can't imagine people lived like that," Ms. Ashcraft said.
Their sister, Dee Ziegler, of Hampton, came into the room and her eyes scanned its features. She said she has attended the open house and visited it many other times over the past several years, and "I still never get tired of coming to see it."
Homes now just aren't built the way they were then, with all of the granite, marble and woodwork. "I wish I lived in the times (when the Deere family) were holding parties," she said, smiling and glancing around the room.
While she has visited the house during all seasons over the years, coming to the annual open house is a "tradition," she said."It starts off the holidays and gets you in the mood."
The dining room table was set at the Deere-Wiman house, complete with sample Christmas Dinner menus from 1896.
A band played Christmas music in a nearby room, and a crowd gathered to listen.
Down the driveway and across the street from the house, the Moline Boys Choir just finished its performance at the Butterworth Center.
Several red-jacketed boys and their families scattered throughout the house, enjoying punch and cookies and admiring the home's intricate features and holiday decor.
Moline Boys Choir member Jack Obert, 12, of Bettendorf, said his favorite part of visiting the house was seeing the "architecture of it and how it's shaped."
He and his brother, Alex, 11, had just finished performing, and they were enjoying cookies and punch with their parents, Andrea and Michael.
"This is my favorite show," Ms. Obert said of all of the Boys Choir performances. "It's a beautiful building," she said. It's "festive."
Mr. Obert said being in the home gave him an "old-fashioned Christmas feeling."
His family agreed.
The Butterworth Center "is nothing like the homes we live in today," Ms. Obert said.
The family said they hadn't attended the homes' open houses before the boys performed there, but now that they've had a taste for it, they know it's something they will continue, Ms. Obert said.
"(We'll) add this to our (holiday) family events."
Today is Sunday, March 9, the 68th day of 2014. There are 297 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Much damage is being done to sidewalks, shade trees, fences and gardens by hogs that are running at large about town. 1889 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Cleveland was elected air knight captain of Rock Island Division Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias. 1914 -- 100 years ago: B.W. Wilson, authority on birds and their habits, spoke at the weekly luncheon at the Rock Island Club. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The famous Dionne quintuplets have been invited to visit King George and Queen Elizabeth in Toronto on May 22, but Papa Dionne thinks their majesties should include the Callander nursery in their tour. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Ever been smothered by funny stuff? Well more than 2,600 people were last night when two boys named Tom and Dick Smothers took a "rocky, twisting road to folk music" in Davenport Masonic Temple. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Moline residents soon may be asked to recycle part of their garbage and might even get paid for it.