FLUSHING — In a year when many community events have been cancelled, the Flushing Candlewalk will be shining bright this December to usher in the holiday season.
The Candlewalk, an annual Christmas celebration hosted by the Flushing Area Chamber of Commerce, will be held on Dec. 3 and 4 in downtown Flushing from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night. The event will kick off with its traditional Parade of Lights and a Christmas tree lighting by Santa Claus on Dec. 3.
As in years past, the 2020 Candlewalk will feature many familiar traditions, such as city streets lined with glowing candles and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. But with the COVID-19 pandemic still a factor, Candlewalk organizers have had to make a few adjustments to keep the event safe and compliant with health department guidelines.
LeeAlan Weddel, a Candlewalk Committee co-chair, said that indoor activities will be limited with this year’s Candlewalk. For example, Santa will be visiting with kids at a pavilion in Riverview Park, rather than taking his usual post inside Goggin’s Hall on Main Street. Additionally, the Flushing Area Historical Society will not be displaying its Christmas Lionel train set this year, and most downtown businesses won’t be open to the public during the Candlewalk.
“Our plan with the Candlewalk was to have an event that could be compliant with social distancing guidelines, while trying to have as many of the normal activities as we could,” said Weddel. “Instead of just occupying Main Street, we’re expanding the footprint of the event to include Riverview Park.”
In addition to Santa’s appearances at the park on both nights, there are several new Candlewalk events in the works at the Riverview Park bandshell, including an ugly sweater contest for dogs and a Christmas karaoke contest. Mayfair Bible Church will also be hosting a live nativity scene in the park on both nights, featuring camels, sheep and other farm animals.
Other Candlewalk attractions will include horse-drawn wagon rides, ice carvings and performances from Judy’s School of Dance and the Gym for Her in the courtyard of the Edward Jones building on Main Street. Ruthie the Cow, a huge cow statue presented by Country Fresh Dairy, will also be on display at Bueche’s Food World for the first time in several years.
For safety purposes, Candlewalk organizers are encouraging spectators to wear masks and practice social distancing for the Parade of Lights and other activities.
“We want everyone to come down and enjoy the event and feel comfortable doing so,” said Weddel. “But we need people to be responsible in that regard so that those who are more cautious will feel safe and welcome at the event.”
Flushing Candlewalk brochures with a full schedule of events are slated to be available this week or next week at Bueche’s Food World. To volunteer for the event, contact the chamber at 810- 659-4141.