Past EDS Tours Recalled at 35-Year Mark
BY LISA KUECKER
Special to The Pilot
Where can magic be found? For our family, it is discovered in the most unlikely of places.
In our search for schools for our child, we found magic falling from the lips of every person who described Episcopal Day School.
Graduates spoke of their favorite teachers and childhood rituals. Parents shared that their saddest days were their children's last day of school at EDS. Staff shared the blessings of being part of such a unique learning experience.
As we set out to explore the last 35 years of EDS Candlelight Tours, it was no surprise to learn that the tour - and its history - conjure up more than a few magical memories.
Thirty-five years ago, the families of EDS shared the magic of a Moore County Christmas that would raise funds for multiple school projects: five homes decorated for the Christmas season, shared live entertainment, holiday delicacies, and Christmas charm.
The families interviewed even remember the one and only year the tour was actually lit by candles.
To take advantage of daylight, the tour found its way onto residents' calendars in the afternoon on the first Sunday of December. Families recalled the hard work and rewards of opening their homes to the public.
As this continued, a community built memories of homes twinkling under a blanket of new fallen snow and children laughing as visions of sugarplums danced through their heads.
In fact, Kristen Little Groner remembers her mother, Sara Little Hemphill, then a new parent at EDS, opening her home on the tour, and herself, singing at homes during the tour.
The children of EDS and the local community have always had a role on the tour, often as entertainers. Families reminisced about the Pinecrest High School choir's appearances, singing as part of the EDS choir and playing musical instruments with their teachers.
This year is no exception, as at least two homes will host Moore County children in Christmas performances.
Sara Little Hemphill recalls the memories families built around the Candlelight Tour of Homes.
"In about 1985, my husband, Ken, and I toured together," she says. "He wasn't my usual companion, but tagged along during this memorable year. Midway through the tour, as we drove through the woods to Stewart Payne's home, it began to lightly snow. It was as if we had driven through an enchanted forest to a hidden cottage. It was a day we never forgot."
Pete Broughton, EDS's Headmistress from 1980-1985, recollects that the Tour of Homes was always "a highlight of the Christmas season" and a wonderful chance to see EDS, Emmanuel Church, and the Moore County community "working together as a family of teachers, parents, parishioners and children."
Many of the 180 families who have featured homes and farms over the last 35 years have been members of the EDS family or Emmanuel Church parishioners.
The tradition continues this year, with former EDS parents Jean Rae and Hugh Hinton, EDS grandparents Ken and Marilee Huntley, Emmanuel Church parishioners Russell and Elizabeth Sugg and Carolyn Smith, the mother of Emmanuel Church parishioners Wes and Anna Smith.
This year's tour begins at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.
To celebrate this occasion, EDS is presenting a -celebration of Moore County Christmas, including -historic Rubicon Farm, two lovely village of Pinehurst residences, and two CCNC properties. It's the perfect time to make your own Candlelight Tour of Home memories.
Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the tour. They may be purchased at The Country Bookshop, Episcopal Day School, Coolsweats, Nature's Own, Gulley's Garden Center, One Eleven Main, and Lady Bedford's Tea Parlour and Gift Shoppe.
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