Haus und Garten Tour PreTour tickets went on sale 13 days ago, and I can't tell you how grateful I am every time a new sale pops up in my inbox.

Haus und Garten Tour PreTour tickets went on sale 13 days ago, and I can't tell you how grateful I am every time a new sale pops up in my inbox.

PreTour and Tour weekend is our biggest fundraiser and biggest community-pride event of the year.

As what I like to call our "deconstructed gala," PreTour ticket purchases are the way hundreds of you choose to increase your investment in the German Village Society each year.

I thank you for that gift, be it a ticket purchased, a dinner hosted, or an in-kind or Anhanger sponsorship for Party on the Platz committed.

Between touring the homes on PreTour night and heading off to your chosen dinner, there's that little hour-long, old-home reunion called the Cocktail Party on Willow Street.

This is the moment every ticketholder is in one place at one time for the evening and is a favorite see-and-be-seen moment every PreTour.

This year, it will be an even better experience. The Cocktail Party has sometimes suffered from, well, putting COCKTAILS into your hands quickly enough. Hey, when 700 people come through the door at the same time, it can be a challenge to keep up!

We're upping our game on the Cocktail Party to enhance your experience. Here's what you can expect:

• More room. We are closing a lane of Third Street from Willow Street to the edge of the Platz to allow us to spread out a bit more to chat with friends.

• More bars. We are adding wine, beer and cocktail service stations along Willow and Third Streets to put drinks in your hands faster.

Thanks to Curio at Harvest, Via Vecchia Wines, and Heidelberg Distributing for helping provide the liquid entertainment. Giant Eagle Market District will be serving small bites.

• More servers. We are adding eight servers to what you've seen in years past so you get your drink and your refills faster.

• Dedicated service lanes. In addition to the fixes above, we've had a problem getting servers in and out of the building at the same time ticketholders are trying to get in and out of the bathrooms.

So this year, we're adding a Port-a-John (don't worry, it's the classy kind they get for swank parties all over town) at the Lazelle Street entrance so that bathrooms are accessible to ticketholders and the Meeting Haus is just for service.

• No wristbands. Your PreTour ticket for Tour will come with a special PreTour marking. Take it with you to tour the homes and attend the Cocktail Party and your assigned dinner. This is part of our Go Green effort to reduce waste.

At 8:15 p.m., cocktails are over and it's off to your chosen dinner experience. The details that reveal your assigned dinner will let you know whether golf carts will be provided for your address (but you can reserve a dedicated golf cart for Saturday night at

If you're staying for Party on the Platz, the singular entrance for the 8:30 p.m. start is through the "paddock entry lane" (it's a Kentucky Derby theme, after all) between the Meeting Haus doors and the wrought-iron fence.

We will reopen Third Street and the Derby party continues on Willow and the Platz until 11:30 p.m. with food by Barcelona, G. Michael's and Pistacia Vera.

Tickets are selling lightning fast, so don't wait another minute. Buy your PreTour tickets at, and we'll see you on June 28 for "Urban. Living. A state of mind."

German Village Society Executive Director Shiloh Todorov submitted the Village Notebook column.