Candlelight Tour Hosts Receive Pay in ‘Oohs & Ahhs’

Jimplecute News Editor

Teresa and Alan Ponder pose in front of the Christmas tree at The Magnolias during the 2018 Candlelight Tour of Homes. The 2019 event will be the 37th consecutive tour if three owners volunteer their homes.

Two Jefferson residents who recently opened their homes for the Candlelight Tour of Homes quickly tell you the annual event takes a lot of work. “It was like putting on a play every night in your home,” Kim Shaw, whose Walnut Street house was on the tour in 2016, said. Shaw and Teresa Ponder, whose The Magnolias was on the 2018 tour, will also let you in on a little secret.

Compliments from thousands of people walking through your living room can be heartwarming. “It makes you feel good that you did something good,” Ponder said. Shaw agreed. “The satisfaction of all the compliments and the oohs and ahhs is wonderful,” Shaw said. “Everyone is so nice. And so thankful. They appreciate what you have done.”

Ponder has found another plus to having The Magnolias, which is a bed and breakfast, on the tour. “It has helped me tremendously with bookings,” Ponder said. Both Shaw and Ponder warned the project requires effort. “The most difficult thing for me was having such a large house and having so much to decorate,” Ponder said. “It was a little bit of pressure, but it is well worth it.”

“It was a lot of work and a lot of fun,” Shaw said. “We felt when we bought our house that it was the responsibility of the homeowner to offer it to the Candlelight Tour. We found it had never been on Candlelight. We owe it to Jefferson to open our house and let people walk through.”

The Historic Jefferson Foundation, which sponsors Candlelight, is actively seeking three homes for the 2019 tour. “We get a number of reasons why people don’t want to do it,” Candy Dickson with HJF said. Excuses range from remodeling plans to someone being allergic to greenery.

candlelight adAlthough the 2018 event enjoyed record sales and record online sales, Dickson fears for the future. “There may not be a 37th Annual Candlelight Tour of Homes, unless we can get the owners of three homes to volunteer,” Dickson said. The Foundation does help with expenses, docents, and ideas. Shaw was appreciative.

“HJF was nothing but helpful,” she said. Ponder also had encouragement for those worried about how the other half of their marital partnership will react to the idea. “My husband (Alan) loved it,” Ponder said. Dickson noted how the Tour brings thousands of tourists to Jefferson each year and how local businesses would suffer without Candlelight.

So, the search is on for three homes for the 2019 tour and a fourth “bonus” stop. In 2018, the Railroad Museum was the extra holiday treat. “It’s like the cherry on top of a sundae,” Dickson said.


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