Candlelight Walking Tour lights the way to the holidays

Photo+by+Paige+Grunden

Photo by Paige Grunden

Grace Portzline

On the first Saturday in December, the downtown area of Granville turns into a festive celebration. The town will kick off the holiday season at the annual Candlelight Walking Tour on Dec. 7.

The tour always has many food options and fun activities for people of all ages. The United Church of Granville hosts a soup dinner with various soups and chilis. They additionally host a music production to enjoy while eating and socializing with family and friends. Other food options are the kettle corn stands and the apple fritter stands in front of the Kussmaul Gallery. Also, many local businesses stand outside serving warm drinks and tasty treats.

Beyond the food, there are many opportunities for fun during the event. There are countless music events as well as many opportunities to start the holiday gift shopping for family and friends.

“I most look forward to seeing all the decorations downtown and getting into the Christmas spirit,” said senior Paige Wallace who will be performing with the Chamber Choir. “It’s a lot of fun to walk around the shops and spend time with friends.” 

For the younger kids, Santa always makes a grand entrance on the firetruck and will be in the gardens behind the Robbins Hunter Museum. He and Mrs. Claus will be there the majority of the afternoon and will meet many kids and hear what they are hoping to find under the tree on Christmas morning.

“We are fortunate indeed to have the one and only Santa and Mrs. Claus with us for a few hours each year at our event,” said Steve Matheny, the executive director of the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce.

There are also other activities for the younger kids to participate in, such as the train display in the Granville Public Library and the gingerbread house contest sponsored by the Granville Recreation District and the Robbins Hunter Museum. 

“My favorite station last year was actually a giant coloring page that was in the village offices building that I’m assuming was for little kids, but a few friends and I had a fun time coloring and sharing songs with each other, but I always discover something new each year,” Wallace said.

Most of the events have been around for many years and have become classic Granville traditions, but this year the Chamber of Commerce is adding a European-style Christmas market to the event.

“We will have 10-12 vendors offering unique seasonal crafts and food items for sale,” Methany said. 

The new event will include seasonal crafts and food for the guests. According to Matheny, this will add a more cultural feel to the event and provide a more personal and unique gifts for the

The high school Chamber Choir is scheduled to perform at various locations and times throughout the day. They will start at 3:00 p.m. at the library, then move to the Post Office at 3:30 p.m., and finish at the Windstream Park which is by the Victoria clock at 4:00 p.m. 

Many of the performers attended the event for years before they had the chance to perform.

“I definitely would be going, because even before I had the chance to perform, my mom and I would go together every year and I always had a really great time,” Wallace said.

Additionally, members from various youth church choirs and orchestras will perform during the day.

The First Presbyterian Church will be hosting a holiday concert starting at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature the Children’s Choir followed by the Chancel Choir with Festivo Bells, First Presbyterian’s Angel Choir and the a capella groups Ladies’ Night Out and the Denison Hilltoppers.

Denison University will host more musical groups which will be performing at the new Michael D. Eisner Center for the Performing Arts. The event is free, and will start at 4:00 p.m.

The committee starts planning the event in mid-summer. There are always many people eager to volunteer and be a part of such a special and wonderful small-town tradition, according to Matheny.

Matheny said the committee is responsible for nailing down many details about the event such as acquiring 72 Christmas Trees, securing a horse-drawn wagon for the day, arranging for parking shuttles, acquiring and repairing/replacing lights and decorations, as well as publicity and marketing for the event.

The event would not be possible if it weren’t for the generous local businesses and families who sponsor Christmas trees, raising $9,000-$10,000 annually. Matheny said the Chamber of Commerce does benefit financially from the event, usually around $6,000-8,000 each year.

“These ‘profits’ help to fund the Chamber’s ongoing operations and services throughout the year,” Matheny said.

Although there are many challenges to putting together an event of this size, Matheny said it is all worth it in the end.

“I most look forward to the genuine joy people have on their faces while enjoying all the holiday activities and entertainment that is available,” Matheny said.