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Good crowd turns out for Oregon's Candlelight Walk

Published: Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 4:00 p.m. CDT
Caption
Santa and Mrs. Claus light the tree on the Ogle County Courthouse lawn as two gingerbread people watch marking the start of Oregon's Candlelight Walk on Nov. 30. Photo by Sarah Zuniga.

Shoppers in a holiday mood made their way to Oregon’s downtown Saturday night for the 27th annual Candlelight Walk.

After checking out the bargains offered by merchants, Kathy Corbin, Oregon, was waiting for the Oregon High School Madrigals to arrive for their performance at Conover Square.

“I enjoy going to the shops,” she said, as she visited with friends.

Dan Boehle, co-owner of Cook’s Collection, served cups of hot cider to the customers in his crowded shop.

He said the crowd was thin at first, but soon increased.

“We got off to a slow start, but we’ve had a good crowd ever since,” he said with a smile.

Conover merchants Bill Houston and Roger Ullmark were also pleased with the number of shoppers.

“It’s a real nice crowd,” Ullmark said.

Mall owner Lou Vanderwyst credited the mid-30s temperatures with bringing people out to the event.

“It’s going well. The warm weather helps,” he said.

Debbie Dickson, executive secretary of the Oregon Chamber of Commerce, the organizer of the event, proclaimed the evening an overall success.

“We’re very pleased with the turnout,” she said. “Of course, the weather is a big factor in that. We could not have dialed up a better evening.”

Youngsters and their parents packed the Oregon Coliseum, Dickson said, to take their turns bending the ear of Santa Claus, who set up shop on the lower level.

“Having Santa downstairs along with the Winter Quarter Festival worked very well,” Dickson said. “Keeping him stationary was great. There was plenty of space there, too.”

In the past, Santa has roamed the downtown with stops at various locations.

The Winter Quarter Festival was a new event this year geared especially for kids ages 3-10. It offered games and prizes for 25 cents.

Dickson said it proved to be very popular.

Franklin Street between Third and Fourth Streets was closed to traffic for the first time and transformed into Candy Cane Lane, providing a vehicle-free route from the Coliseum to Conover.

“That added a special flair to the night,” Dickson said.

Cooperation was important to the event’s success, she said.

She thanked the Oregon Police and Street Department, Oregon Fire Department, and Oregon Park District for their participation and services, as well as the army of volunteers who helped out, and the businesses that gave monetary support.

“When everyone pulls together we can have an event as successful as this one was,” Dickson said.

The winners of the Red Bow Giveaway and the Hysterical Holiday Hunt will be announced later this week.

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