Everywhere you looked in downtown Knoxville Sunday afternoon, you would see people wearing white stickers and carrying white booklets strolling in the mild weather.
They were on Market Square, in the Old City, and even on the Clinch Avenue Bridge. More than 600 of them.
They were the enthusiastic participants in the City People Home Tour. Those booklets held directions to 14 homes on the tour, as varied as the people visiting them.
The homes ranged from a tiny two-room loft in the Candy Factory to the 3,000-plus square-foot spreads at the Holston and on the second story of 7 Market Square.
The hosts ranged from young bachelors to families with children. The Haslers, who own the breath-taking Market Square abode, are only part-time Knoxville residents. Their primary home is in Missouri. It’s a huge compliment that people choose to have their “second home” be in downtown Knoxville.
(When one homeower was asked how many nights his family spends in his downtown space, he answered this way: “Three nights a week. But if the school board asks, four nights a week!” Downtown is zoned for children to attend the well-regarded Sequoyah Elementary School.)
Here’s a look at some of the stops on the tour:
My friend Susan Brown and I started the tour at 12:30 and ended at 4. Along the way we made a few stops: once for gelato and once for bottled water. We had to mooch a band-aid from one of the hosts because Susan was getting a blister. When we finished, we practically collapsed onto the patio of the newest restaurant on Market Square, Sangria’s, where we ordered wine and tapas.
I thought I might be hallucinating from fatigue when a bunch of people dressed like zombies began to congregate at the stage area. Then it was explained to me that this was an annual “Zombie Walk” where folks donate cans of food to Second Harvest in exchange for an opportunity to dress like zombies and parade downtown. As I often say on such occasions: you don’t see this in Sequoyah Hills!
What a great day.
Thanks for stopping by. After 5 hours and 500 guests, I felt as though I was having my own zombie parade. It was tons of fun, and every single person who entered thanked us for opening our home. We were excited to meet our newest neighbors, Allen & Karen Simms, who just purchased 602 Kendrick Place and are moving in on November 6. We look forward to welcoming them downtown.
PS: The goose is a memento of 3 year old Gustav “Goose” Tandy-Stiebert who has moved to England with his parents & baby sister. We wouldn’t think of parting with it!
What I loved about the tour was seeing so many people who were obviously not “center city” types: people from the suburbs who came to check out this downtown-living thing. I bet many had no idea such elegance and charm and secret gardens existed. Just more positive impressions for our wonderful downtown.
You are right, Becky. I saw one couple I know from Sequoyah Hills. They were about at Regas walking towards downtown. The woman asked, “Cynthia, do you know where the 100 block of Gay Street is?” Fortunately, they were very close to it!
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