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June 2012
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Home tour attracts 'eager' visitors

BY LAUREL BLACK lblack@paducahsun.com

Local saxophonist Reggie Lafaye summed up the response to the Lower Town Home & Garden Tour with one word: eager.

About 350 visitors flocked to the two-day event, which the Lower Town Neighborhood Association holds every year during Quilt Week. Locals and visitors alike paid $10 to tour eight historic homes and 10 galleries in the arts district. Proceeds benefitted the Lower Town Arts Scholarship Program.

Lafaye played his saxophone Friday night for visitors to the wine, beer and moonshine garden hosted by Dr. Howie and Janet Levinson. Passersby honked and rolled down their windows as they passed the saxophonist, who returned for an encore on the Levinsons' porch on North Sixth Street Saturday afternoon.

"(The neighborhood) has got such personality," said Lafaye, who moved to Paducah in 2005 and lives in Lone Oak.

His wife, Mitzi, agreed, adding that the couple loved Lower Town so much, she would like to buy a house there.

Others echoed the sentiment.

"It makes you want to come down here and get one," Paducahan Cindy Kneer said as she toured John and Sherron Dunaway's 1,300-square-foot condo in the Friedrich building, 233 North Sixth St.

Like several buildings on the tour, the Friedrich was constructed around 1900. Sherron Dunaway said it was refurbished using the original woodwork, flooring, doors and molding. The Dunaways also own a home in Lone Oak, but found themselves enjoying downtown Paducah often enough that they wanted a place nearby.

Dunaway said she didn't mind having hundreds of strangers traipse through her living space. In fact, she enjoyed meeting them and fielding their questions about the building.

As the tour wound down Saturday, Thompson and Janet Levinson discussed ways to improve for next year. They considered the wine, beer and moonshine garden a success and discussed the possibility of adding food to future events. Thompson also commended the Paducah Ambassadors and other volunteers for their help with the tour.

"We're taking notes on people's suggestions, and we intend to amp it up and make it even bigger and better next year," Thompson said.

"We're honored that folks are willing and interested in coming and sharing a part of our everyday life."

Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.

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