Whether they're regular visitors or first-time attendees of the German Village Haus und Garten Tour, people regularly find themselves surprised by the neighborhood, one organizer said.

"I would say everywhere it's a common comment that we get from tourgoers: 'I had no idea,'" said Tracie Stamm, a tour host committee member.

Whether it's a pool, carriage house, fountain or modern restoration, the village never ceases to surprise visitors, prompting this year's tour theme: "Expect the Unexpected," Stamm said.

"It's such a unique neighborhood around town," she said.

The 59th annual tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 24. It follows the PreTour event, which gives patrons a sneak preview of the houses, held the prior evening.

There are 12 sites identified for the tour and a possible hard-hat walk-through of Saint Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church, which is undergoing renovations.

"We're way ahead of the game on the tour side," said Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the German Village Society.

Among the changes this year is a change in the location of the PreTour cocktail party, which will be moved to Schiller Park.

Last year it was held on City Park Avenue, which was closed for the event. It is open to anyone who signs up for the PreTour or those who will opt only for the party.

Tickets for the PreTour will go on sale at the end of March, Todorov said.

Because the city of Columbus now allows the consumption of alcohol at permitted events in parks, the tour committee decided to take advantage of the surroundings, Stamm said.

Completely new this year is a brunch, also to be located in the park. Hours and cost for the meal, which will be served beneath a tent and will feature upscale food and drink, have yet to be determined, she said.

"We don't have a food offering on Sunday," she said. "People come and will spend a lot of time during the day there. Maybe you need a spot to grab a bite and refresh. We think (the brunch) is an enhancement."

The tour will close earlier than it did last year.

"I just think the reality is people trickle away by 5 or 5:30 (p.m.)," Stamm said, referring to the 6 p.m. closing time of many previous tours. "It is pretty demanding on the volunteer staff and hosts."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary