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By Jessica Harlan
Holiday decor, wine tastings, and musical entertainment, oh my! The Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes on December 12 and 13 is shaping up to be one of the most exciting events of the season with special activities, entertainment, and events going on throughout the weekend.
This annual event allows tour-goers to get a glimpse inside of some of the neighborhood’s loveliest homes decked out for the season and to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts at an artist’s market.
This year watch for neighborhood caroling from local Girl Scouts troops to set the mood, as well as a free Sunday-evening concert by St. Paul United Methodist Church Choir. And when hunger strikes, food options will be available for purchase, including hot dogs from Doggy Dogg Atlanta.
Two of this year’s Tour sponsors, The WineSmith Co. and Bennett’s Market & Deli, are jointly planning a wine-tasting event that will take place the weekend of the Candlelight Tour. Attendees will have the chance to taste a new line of Spanish wines debuting at Bennett’s, including Rovira Basques Cava Brut, the official bubbly of the Candlelight Tour of Homes. The tasting will include hors d’oeuvres and dessert. Information on the price of the tasting and how to reserve a spot will be available on the Candlelight Tour of Homes Facebook page.
“As a longtime resident of Grant Park, it has always been a great interest of mine to keep our community strong and thriving by supporting local businesses and organizations,” said Ian Smith, Jr., owner of The WineSmith Co. “I consider it a privilege to have the opportunity to team up with Bennett’s and the Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes to help celebrate such a wonderful neighborhood.”
Other sponsors of the Candlelight Tour include the Little Tart Bakeshop, located in The Jane building on Memorial Drive and at Krog Street Market, and The Cake Hag, which recently relocated to the new Global Grub Collective at 477 Flat Shoals Avenue in East Atlanta.
The Grant Park Parents Network’s (GPPN) annual Winter Wonderland, a special party just for kids, will be held from 4:00pm to 6:00 pm on Saturday, December 12, at St. Paul United Methodist Church. While the event is free, families are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy, which will be donated to St. John the Wonder Worker’s annual Christmas food and toy program. Children attending Winter Wonderland will receive five tickets to use for games and crafts, while additional tickets can be purchased for $1 each. Children will also have the chance to have their photos taken with Santa. For more information about Winter Wonderland, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GPPN is one of the three neighborhood organizations that rely on funds raised from the annual Candlelight Tour. This longtime Grant Park institution organizes community playgroups and neighborhood events. “The Grant Park Parents Network understands the importance of being a partner in one of the neighborhood’s quintessential events,” says Paige Teusink, president of the GPPN. “Without the funds raised from the Candlelight Tour of Homes, we would be unable to put on free community events like Music in the Meadow, the Halloween Parade, or community outreach initiatives like our MLK Service Day and Nicholas House dinners.”
Grant Park Cooperative Preschool also receives funding from the Candlelight Tour. This school, which has been an integral part of Grant Park since 2000, focuses on the Reggio Emilia educational approach to learning. This philosophy is based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum.
Another of the Candlelight Tour’s partners is St. Paul United Methodist Church, also the home of the Artist’s Market, Winter Wonderland, and other events throughout the weekend. This diverse and open-minded congregation has welcomed members from Grant Park and beyond for more than 100 years. This year St. Paul is making many needed structural repairs and improvements, making the funding from the Candlelight Tour even more essential.
For more information on the Grant Park Candlelight Tour of Homes or to purchase tickets, visit www.candlelighttourofhomes.com.