2009-04-09 / Front Page

Spring Tour of Homes sees good crowds in spite of economic strains

Welcoming guests at the Robert Toombs House, docent Jenny Lindsey presents a timeless image of 1859 Washington. Welcoming guests at the Robert Toombs House, docent Jenny Lindsey presents a timeless image of 1859 Washington. Although the final attendance numbers are not complete, it appears that the annual Spring Tour of Homes was at least as well-attended as last year, despite the worsening economy.

"It was wonderful," said Louise Maynard. "We had a super crowd, at least as good as last year, which is very exciting, considering the economy."

The spring tour, which began Friday and continued Saturday and Sunday, brought visitors to some 19 tour homes and special events. "We had rave reviews from everybody who came. They said they really enjoyed it and wanted to come back."

Volunteers filled more than 400 positions in tour homes and other locations. "Everybody who worked gave 100 percent, and we are so grateful for their hard work all weekend," Maynard said. "This would not be possible without them."

The tour was sponsored by the Washington Woman's Club, the Washington Kiwanis Club, and the Washington-Wilkes Chamber of Commerce.

Story and photos by KIP BURKE Sabrina Dodgen welcomes Tour of Homes visitors to the Spring Street home of Deb Talley, which was the tour's Decorator Showcase house. Story and photos by KIP BURKE Sabrina Dodgen welcomes Tour of Homes visitors to the Spring Street home of Deb Talley, which was the tour's Decorator Showcase house. More than 80 guests attended Friday night's Champagne & Dessert Soiree at the home of Mark and Emilie Waters. "We had a full house, and everyone seemed to have a marvelous time," Mark Waters said. "It was a very nice group of folks."

Due to weeks of effort by Sue Davidson, Gone With the Wind stars Mickey Kuhn and Patrick Curtis entertained a devoted crowd with their "Hollywood Revue" Friday night at the Washington Little Theater. The two actors also appeared at the Washington Historical Museum and Retro Cinema on Saturday. "Sue put in so much work to see this happen," Maynard said. "It was a wonderful addition to the weekend."

Visitors also flocked to the Washington Historical Museum to see a collection of original, hand-painted Gone With The Wind poster boards and other movie posters of the era, while at the Robert Toombs House, re-enactors in 1859 period costume welcomed guests to the home on the eve of Senator Toombs' departure for service in Washington, D.C.

On Sunday, the Tour moved to the country to visit the classic country homes of Danburg. "Our Sunday in the Country guests really enjoyed the antique cars, and our country flea market was a big hit, especially Bobby Heffner's yard plants at the Old Danburg School," Maynard said.

Throughout the weekend, visitors shopped and dined in Washington. Merchants said that traffic was good, and that shoppers were buying despite the economy. Especially popular was the tour's Decorator Showcase House, done by Deb Talley and Debbie Bennett. "They did a wonderful job pulling it together," Maynard said. "More than 50 people paid at the door just to see the showcase, and it was terrific having something different to bring people out."

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