Paris, TN – The Paris Board of Public Utilities and the Historic Atkins-Porter Neighborhood Association (HAPNA) have partnered on a Christmas outing created for enjoyment of the community. The neighborhood’s Sixth Annual Gift of Light runs nightly through Sunday, January 1, 2023.
“We are always delighted to partner with HAPNA for this event. Now in its sixth year, these neighbors have done another tremendous job welcoming the holidays to this historic area,” said Paris BPU President and CEO Terry Wimberley.
HAPNA President Rachel Terrell invited community members to drive or stroll through the historic neighborhood. “It’s a nice way to slow down and really appreciate the work that goes into these displays. We also invite you to walk through the incredible display at our neighborhood’s botanical garden at 311 Jackson. It’s a fabulous place to take holiday photos.”
Seven, award winners were chosen by out-of-town judges, and trophies were presented over the weekend by Wimberley and Lori Barrow of the BPU. Terrell, Vickey Roberts, Conner Courtemanche and Susan Jones joined the fun and presented on behalf of HAPNA.
Robby Miller and Christopher Justice, winners of the Griswold Award are long-time Paris residents who moved earlier this year to their circa 1919 home at 702 East Wood Street. Miller said that almost everything used in their Christmas displays was purchased used or was repurposed. The project includes nine Christmas trees and took two weeks to complete.
“This display has so much that speaks to Christmas from a large lighted star hung high above the door, to icicles to candles and candy canes to a giant tree created by lights… and that’s just the front yard,” said Wimberly, who enjoyed the opportunity to welcome them to the Gift of Light Winner’s Circle.
The Best House Award was presented to the neighbors Jason and Krystel Bucher, 312 Thompson Street. This the family’s second year in the neighborhood. Enchanted by their 2021 decorations, the Buchers’ neighbors encouraged them to decorate again this year, and it didn’t take much coaxing. Last year, their festive porch garnered an award, but this year, Jason the entirety of the 1915 home and its lawn are adorned in white lights. “We just want Christmas to magical for our children and other children, as well,” they said.
The home of Melvin and Patricia Roney at 312 Head Street is familiar to Christmas light fans. The blow mold nativity set in front of the circa 1904 home won the award for Best Religious Decoration Award, but for the judges, it was the music that put it over the top. “They not only had the nativity, they also had ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ and other familiar carols synchronized to their lights,” they said.
Another newcomer to the neighborhood took home the title of Best Porch Award. Erik Stonebreaker’s porch wraps around two sides of the home overlooking the corner of 336 Edgewood and Park Streets. With several small Christmas trees, over-sized bells, garlands and lights, the decorations provide a festive welcome for all who pass this circa 1919 home.
When Phillip Weaver moved from Walnut Street several years ago, neighbors were afraid they had lost his holiday decorating skills to another part of town, but Weaver and his boys, Ryan Weaver and Hunter Horne didn’t go far. In fact, their 1956 home, at 508 Dunlap Street was named the Best Yard Award. The judges were so enthusiastic about Weaver’s and several other beautifully decorated homes on that corridor that Dunlap Street was named Most Appealing Street in lighting contest. Edgewood, Walnut and Whitehall were also considered.
A perennial favorite, the Price family of 422 Whitehall Circle made another appearance on the winners list, this year for the Judges’ Favorite Award. “Kevin Price grew up in a family that adored decorating their home with lights for Christmas,” said Terrell. “This year he has expanded his light display yet again, and the judges loved it.”
While Wimberley loved the displays, he was impressed that many neighbors are decorating with LED lighting. He noted that the BPU encourages customers to use these lights, which are more vivid, are cool to the touch, and last far longer than traditional lights.
The neighborhood is bordered by Veterans Drive/South Market Street, East Wood Street and Tyson Avenue. Members of the HAPNA Board of Directors were ineligible to win.
2022 Historic Atkins-Porter Neighborhood Association Christmas “Gift of Light” winning addresses:
BEST PORCH – 336 Edgewood Street
BEST YARD – 508 Dunlap Street
BEST HOUSE – 312 Thompson
BEST RELIGIOUS DECORATIONS – 312 Head Street
CLARK GRISWOLD AWARD – 702 East Wood
MOST APPEALING STREET – Dunlap Street
JUDGES’ FAVORITE – 422 Whitehall
The neighborhood association also reminds Christmas light enthusiasts to visit LightUpParisTN.com also sponsored by Paris BPU to view lighting displays throughout the county. Many of the HAPNA entries also will be listed in the Chamber’s contest.
The Historic Atkins-Porter Neighborhood Association is a 501c3 organization dedicated to preserving the history, integrity, safety and sense of community of the Atkins-Porter neighborhood. For more information visit Atkins-Porter Neighborhood on Facebook or www.HAPNA.org.