Local mega open house slated for this weekend

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The doors to more than 80 Walla Walla area homes will be open to the public this weekend as part of a mega open house event taking place all over the country.

From a nearly $1 million colonial to a quaint 1,000-square-foot home, houses will be on display Saturday and Sunday as part of Realtor Nationwide Open House Weekend.

The self-guided tour of homes is billed as the biggest two-day housing event in the world. The Walla Walla properties will be among thousands on display in neighborhoods across the country. The event serves as a ceremonial kickoff to the spring home-buying season.

The event is coordinated locally by the Walla Walla Association of Realtors. In addition to bringing together buyers and sellers, the open houses also connect consumers with Realtors who will be available to answer questions about the buying process and local market conditions, according to an announcement on the event.

Washington state is the birthplace of the open-house extravaganza. For years, local Realtor associations conducted their own open-house events. The events were so successful that a statewide open-house weekend was organized in 2009. Last year, it went national with nearly every state participating. This year, the National Association of Realtors is helping to promote the weekend's happenings.

To find a detailed selection of homes that will be available for viewing this weekend and the scheduled days and times, visit: www.wwopenhouses.com .

Face It Skin Center celebrates its relocation to Myra Road today with an open house event.

The business owned by Amanda Evans moved earlier this year to 349 N.E. Myra Road, where it has expanded its offerings to include massage, Reiki and hair services. It also offers facials, permanent makeup, lash extensions and more.

Evans, an aesthetician, is joined by licensed massage practitioner Cindy Davis; hair stylists Tami Olmstead and Michelle Stanton; and Reiki master Kathleen Johnson.

Today's event runs 3-7 p.m. Refreshments will be served, and goodie bags will be distributed to the first 20 people. Door prizes will also be offered. For more information, visit the website -- www.wwfaceit.com -- or call 876-2834.

A team of travelers may hit up Walla Walla this summer to find out if the community is, indeed, the friendliest small town in America.

After weeks of online voting in the Best of the Road contest sponsored by Rand McNally and USA Today, Walla Walla was the front-runner as "friendliest" town with fewer than 150,000 residents.

The category is one of five voted on by visitors to the Best of the Road Rally site. For more than 150 years, Rand McNally has highlighted what's "best" on the highways and byways of America. About a decade ago, it started focusing on special destinations and points of interest off the beaten path. These places have been featured as part of "Best of the Road" in travel guides and in the Rand McNally Road Atlas.

Now Walla Walla could find its place on the map.

The community received 266 online votes as friendliest town. It also received another 66 votes in the various four other categories: Most Fun Town, Most Patriotic Town, Best Town for Scenery and Best Town for Food.

Rand McNally and USA Today will select the top five small towns in each category. From there, teams of five travelers will hit up those cities to determine the winners. Whether Walla Walla will be visited based on the consumer vote is not yet clear. Rally teams will leave New York City on June 23. They'll end their travels in Los Angeles on July 15. First-place winners in each category will receive $10,000.

But no matter what, Walla Walla will get some ink. The top towns and points of interest will be recognized on www.bestoftheroad.com , written about in USA Today and featured in the 2013 Rand McNally Road Atlas.

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