The 2021 Candlelight Stroll, a favourite holiday tradition in Niagara-on-Lake for more than 30 years, is a go.
It will be an in-person event, Dec. 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., with mostly the same format as pre-COVID years, but with one small change and many more volunteers on hand to help ensure pandemic protocols are followed, says Eduardo Lafforgue, president and CEO of the NOTL Chamber of Commerce, the organizer of the popular event.
It will begin with singing from the Court House steps, where volunteers, including the Shaw Guild ambassadors, will be stationed, as well as along the route of the stroll. Their task will be to keep groups of strollers in their family bubbles, and others spaced two metres apart. Everyone in attendance is expected to wear a mask, says Lafforgue, adding all public health protocols will be followed.
This year, says Lafforgue, “we’re absolutely thrilled that we can go ahead with our traditional Candlelight Stroll, walking through the streets of the Old Town with music, as in past years.”
In addition, the volunteers who typically sell candles and help out with the Newark Neighbours collection of food will be on-hand.
The main difference, says Lafforgue, will be a shortened introduction and speeches from the Court House, helping to reduce a large gathering and keep people physically distanced before the stroll gets underway. Once the candles are lit, the crowd will disperse as they move along the route.
Details have been worked out with support from town staff and the regional public health department.
According to tradition, based on the goal of the original stroll, a portion of the funds raised through candle sales is expected to be donated to someone in need.
Some of the proceeds, as has become a more recent tradition, will go to the Temporary Seasonal Agricultural Workers Welcome Package, which provides safety vests and other basics for temporary agricultural workers.
Last year, the stroll included a limited ceremony pre-recorded from the Court House steps, broadcast on Cogeco, with residents urged to buy candles and stay at home.