By JAMIE PARSELL-NULL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BRAMWELL — For 30 years, the town of Bramwell has turned history and legends into Christmas magic during the annual Tour of Homes. Every December, local residents and visitors celebrate the holidays with a Victorian backdrop of elegant homes and sometimes, a bit of snow. Betty Goins, local historian and chair of the tour, has been a part of the event since its conception in1983.
Goins can recall the first time the event was discussed during a meeting of the Bramwell Millionaire Garden Club.
“At that time in 1983, Pocahontas, Va., was celebrating their centennial and they thought it would be a good time to participate. Some of the ladies lived in the older homes. But one lady didn’t understand why people would want to look at their homes. They didn’t think people would come,” Goins said.
But people did come, from towns and cities beyond the two Virginias.
This year, the Pack House will be open on the tour, Goins said. An average of fives homes are open to the public every year.
The 2013 Tour of Homes will be on Saturday, Dec. 14. Homes open at 5 p.m. and close at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at 4 p.m., on the day of the tour, at the Presbyterian Church in the middle of town. No advance tickets will be sold. All tickets are $15 (cash only). For more information, call 304-589-0246.
In 30 years, more than 12,000 people have been through the tour.
Around 1,500 volunteers have helped prepare and lead the tour.
Six-thousands cookies have been handed out in 30 years.
There are hundreds of ribbons and bows through the town
on gates, fences, doors and light posts.
The Bramwell Fire Department puts out 400 luminaries each year.
The tour lasts 180 minutes.
The town of Bramwell is 125 years old.
More than 100 musicians have performed during the last 30 years.
The E.S. Baker house, which is part of the tour,
has 20 Christmas trees on display.
Every year, 25-30 people dress in Victorian period costumes to lead the tour.
The organist, Jeffrey Brannon, of Bluefield, is 17 years old.
This year, there will be 12 carolers singing in the street.