GENEVA – The holiday season is not official until Geneva’s Christmas Walk commences at 6 p.m. today, with the arrival of Santa Lucia, Santa Claus opening the Gingerbread House, and the lighting of the Great Tree on the courthouse lawn.
About 25,000 revelers are expected to converge on Third Street for opening ceremonies and festivities of the two-day celebration, Geneva Chamber of Commerce President Jean Gaines said.
The House Tour, which begins at 11 a.m., features five distinctively decorated houses. Gaines said the $30 tickets have been in demand for days.
“I had a call from Texas and a call from Nebraska for tickets for the house tour,” Gaines said. “The money from that pays for everything for the Christmas Walk, so those homeowners are definitely giving a gift to the community.”
The Christmas Walk’s traditions will remain, Gaines said, as crowds will wait for the Swedish spirit of Christmas, Santa Lucia, to arrive by horse-drawn carriage.
Gaines said employees from public works decorated the large evergreen on the courthouse lawn with ornaments made by Girl Scouts. This is the Great Tree that will be lighted by Mayor Kevin Burns as festivities kick off.
Various stores on Third and State streets will offer roasted chestnuts, and Graham’s Chocolates on Third will offer the first peppermint candy of the season, made fresh in the confectionery window. Geneva Lutheran Church will host its annual live Nativity, and State Street stores will have live mannequins in their windows – student volunteers from Geneva High School.
“We will have a full weekend as the merchants are also doing a lot of things in their stores,” Gaines said.
On Saturday, the city will close Third Street at 5 p.m., and chef Alain Roby will begin making a 45-foot sugar cane at 7 p.m. in an attempt to obtain a third Guinness World Record.
The chamber has been hosting the House Tour for 26 years, but the Christmas Walk is at least 60 years old, Gaines said.
“We have been doing this a long time,” Gaines said.
For information about the Geneva Christmas Walk, visit www.genevachamber.com.