EUFAULA — A pink ribbon Martha Houston cut in front of the Shorter Mansion on Friday marked the beginning of the city’s annual Eufaula Pilgrimage.
Houston said she was at the same mansion 48 years ago for a similar celebration: the city’s first Eufaula Pilgrimage, which Houston and others organized around a tour of the Shorter Mansion.
The pilgrimage is noted as Alabama’s oldest tour of homes and offers guided tours by participants dressed for the occasion, as well as multiple events throughout the city’s historic churches, gardens and homes. This year’s event, which lasts through Sunday, features candlelight tours, musicians, artists and other programs.
Eufaula Pilgrimage Chairman Anne Schaeffer said the pilgrimage encompasses historic structures that have been shared by pilgrims who have traveled from as far away as Alaska and as nearby as Georgetown, Ga.
Ferdie Johnston, who has participated as a guide on the pilgrimage for more than two decades, said each years the pilgrimage offers an opportunity to link the past with the future.
“This year my granddaughter and grandson from Georgia are participating, so I’m passing on a tradition to the next generation,” she said.
Jill Wachs of the Eufaula Heritage Association, which organizes the tour as an annual fundraiser, said guides on the tour represent children and adults willing to share the intricate details of their town’s history.
Wachs said children as young as six began participating with the pilgrimage at least six years ago.
“The way I see it, the children now will be running the pilgrimage a couple decades later, so it’s important they know the history and can relay it to the visitors we have,” she said.
Anne Savage, president of the Eufaula Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, said the pilgrimage gave visitors an opportunity to experience all of Eufaula.
“This is an amazing community that sticks together and is proud of its heritage, and works hard to make the city all that it can be,” she said.
“There is something for everyone this weekend and we hope that you can enjoy the rest of our shops, stay in our hotels, and see we really have a lot to offer in the city.”