By Morgan Bryce
The “Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour,” recognized by numerous magazines and publications as one of the Southeast’s premier holiday events, is set to return for its 25th year Dec. 5-9.
Each year, 60 homes in Opelika’s Northside Historic District are adorned with Victorian-style decorations that transport visitors to another time, according to Tour Director Roger Bell.
“We get visitors from all over the state and country who come to enjoy this attraction. It’s a huge tradition for the city of Opelika and individuals who live here who have passed it down to their later generations,” Bell said. “There’s just nothing else like it out there.”
Established in 1993, the tour features the handiwork of former Opelika resident Jan Jones, whose work is prevalent in the art and figures on display.
Bell, who has served as the tour’s director since 2013, said he, along with artistic team members Lynn Carter, DiAnn Cullinan and Jane Suhling, are responsible for the upkeep of the artwork and figurines displayed during the tour.
The tour consists of cycling, driving and walking tours. The dates for the driving tour are Dec. 5-7 and 9. On Dec. 8, the night of the walking tour, more than 10 city street blocks will be closed off for the public to stroll and take in the spectacle.
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller will commence the night of the walking tour with a tree-lighting ceremony and reading of a proclamation commemorating the event’s 25th year on the street-corner of Trinity Methodist Church located at North Eighth Street and Second Avenue.
Trinity Methodist Church will host an open house for guests and members of the Opelika Historic Preservation Society will open the historic Brownsfield House to serve cookies and steaming hot wassail. A full itinerary of musical guests and performances is available on the event’s website.
With crowds expected to exceed more than 20,000 people during the course of the four-day event, Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller and Bell both shared their thoughts on the event and what meaning its holds for the community.
“I believe it’s our signature event and I’m grateful to the many volunteers that make it special. Hard to believe this is the 25th year,” Fuller said. “ The Victorian Front Porch Christmas Tour will again delight townsfolks and visitors of all ages. This is just one of the many reasons why Christmas is so special in Opelika.”
Bell said the event epitomizes the festive and joyous atmosphere that surrounds the Christmas holiday.
“To me, this is event is what Christmas is all about. When you see the smiling, glowing, beaming faces of the children and the parents are oohing and aahing, it’s just a special, special sight to see,” Bell said.
Event admission is free, but there is a GoFundMe account available on the event’s website, www.opelikavictorianfrontporchtour.com, to help cover the cost of staging the event.
For more information or to see a full schedule of musical entertainment on the night of the walking tour, visit their website or email email@example.com.