An estimated 3,000 people turned out Nov. 24 for the 32nd Candlelight Walk, Oregon’s official beginning of the holiday season.
“We’re very excited about the number of people who came,” said Oregon Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Debbie Dickson. “Many of them came from out of town. We had visitors from Rockford, Rockton, Lombard, and the Quad Cities. One family of five from Rockford told me they have made it a tradition for several years.”
Businesses, decorated for Christmas and offering holiday bargains, welcomed guests throughout the evening in the downtown, at Conover Square, and beyond.
Santa Claus made his annual arrival via Oregon firetruck before setting up shop at ADM Studios
Even Mother Nature cooperated, providing mild temperatures and dry skies.
One of the highlights of the event was brand new this year.
“Santa’s Cyclone Center was a smash hit,” Dickson said.
Participants had 15 seconds in a wind box to grab as many small slips of paper as they could and shove them through a slot.
On the slips of paper were prizes.
“More than $1,000 in prizes were donated by our local businesses,” Dickson said.
Food vendors on Candy Cane Lane sold out, she said.
Other popular attractions were the horse-drawn wagon rides through the downtown, the live reindeer, and the Paw Patrol characters on hand at businesses in the downtown.
Dickson credited sponsors and volunteers for the event’s success.
“We’re extremely grateful to all our generous sponsors,” she said. “Without them we couldn’t put on an event like this. We have wonderful volunteers who work hard to make this happen.”