by Rebecca Wallace
What do you get when you cross not one, but two Victorian mansions, a Bed & Breakfast with livestock on property, reveling carolers and Santa? Answer: perhaps the most unusual and fun-filled Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes ever! The annual neighborhood holiday event is known for its beautiful homes and holiday decorations, as well as the warm, welcoming hospitality extended to tour-goers. But now we’re spicing it up a bit!
Starting at St. Paul United Methodist Church, the tour will be Saturday, Dec. 8 and Sunday Dec. 9 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. both nights.
“Being a 27-year resident of the Atlanta area, I have long heard of the Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes, so I am especially excited to be involved with it this year,” said St. Paul’s new pastor, the Rev. Ellen Hopkins.
A special stop this year is The Social Goat Bed & Breakfast at 548 Robinson Ave. Since their last appearance on the tour a few years ago, owners Kristy Smith and Paul Guerrucci have accumulated quite the petting zoo out back, complete with turkeys, goats and chickens if tour-goers are feeling frisky.
Another tour stop (and perhaps a permanent feature) is the L. P. Grant Mansion just across from St. Paul, home to the Atlanta Preservation Center. And always a big draw to the tour and the neighborhood is the Burns Mansion at 622 Grant St., back this year with new homeowners, Matt and Erin Miller.
For family fun, the popular Winter Wonderland put on by the Grant Park Parent Network is returning. Featuring Santa, cookie decorating and other holiday treats, Winter Wonderland will be in the church gymnasium from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“The North Pole Princess is making a very special trip to collect ornaments for the trees back at the North Pole,” said Marie Mower, president of GPPN. “Children are encouraged to make an ornament at home and bring it for the Princess, who will offer goodies in exchange.”
As an added convenience this year, there will be childcare from 5:45 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 8 for any parents that want to enjoy a kid-free night on the Tour. Available for children eight months and older, you must be a tour volunteer or ticket holder on Dec. 8 to take advantage of the childcare, and you must have a reservation.
It will be in the nursery and the children’s Sunday School classrooms on the third floor of St. Paul. Provided by Girl Scout Troop 3107 and supervisors, the cost for childcare is $5 per child. Reservations can be made on the tour website.
As every year, the Candlelight Tour of Homes will also include an Artists’ Market and Bake Sale, open both nights with no admission costs, as well as caroling hayrides on Saturday and a Candlelight Christmas Concert on Sunday.
The concert will feature the choirs from St. Paul as well as Park Avenue Baptist, and special guests.
Tour tickets can be purchased in advance for $15 at our website, at select sponsor locations or by calling 404.688.7501. After Dec. 7, tickets can be purchased for $20 at the ticket booth located in the sanctuary of St. Paul at 501 Grant St. in Grant Park.
Pre-purchased tickets must be exchanged for Tour programs, which are used as entry into the homes on the Tour, at the ticket booth on either night of the Tour. For more information on the 32nd Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes, or any of its many activities, please visit our websitewww or call 404.688.7501.
If you go:
2012 Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes Schedule:
- Tour of Homes Sat. and Sun.: 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
- Winter Wonderland Sat.: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Childcare* Sat. and Sun.: 5:45 p.m. to 9 p.m.
- Caroling Hayrides Sat. 5 p.m.: to 8 p.m.
- Artist Market & Bake Sale Sat.: 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Sun. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
(*$5 per child; reservations required. All other activities are complementary with a Tour ticket purchase.)