GENEVA – Santa Claus and Santa Lucia are due in Geneva by 6 p.m. tonight, as Geneva’s Christmas Walk begins, the last festival of the year that welcomes the holiday season.
Mayor Kevin Burns will light the Great Tree on the courthouse lawn, and Santa’s Gingerbread House will open so hopeful girls and boys can share their Christmas wishes.
Third Street will be closed to traffic as some 20,000 families are expected to attend the opening ceremonies and festive activities of the two-day Geneva Christmas Walk celebration.
“For the Christmas Walk, we definitely keep traditions,” said Geneva Chamber of Commerce spokeswoman Laura Rush. “Holidays are all about traditions; the Christmas Walk, in particular. Santa Claus arrives, Santa Lucia comes, the tree is lit. Families like the consistency.”
Rush said the line to see Santa can start an hour before his arrival, showing how popular the tradition is.
Festival-goers have so many choices, from going to Graham’s Chocolates to watch peppermint candy canes being made fresh – and shared with the public – and noshing on roasted chestnuts and toasted marshmallows at area stores, also free to the public, she said.
“Looking down Third Street from the stage last year, there were people as far as you could see,” Rush said. “It was crowded.”
Tickets for the house tour – a self-guided tour of five distinctive houses especially decorated for Christmas – have been “flying out the door,” Rush said.
She estimated they’d sold at least 1,000 tickets “and we’re down to our last box and a half.”
Tickets are $30, and the proceeds are used to pay for the event’s expenses.
“When people call for tickets, we say, ‘How did you hear about the house tour?’ and many are repeats,” Rush said. “One has been on the house tour 17 times.”
Rush said the chamber finds five new houses to feature every year with just a few repeats.
“We find the right mix of homes … and the families are wonderful,” Rush said. “They really have to let decorators take control of their home and not be there all day Friday and most of the day Saturday.”
The house tour goes from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
In addition, the Geneva Library Friends’ used book sale is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the library, located at 127 James St. in Geneva.
Also, Chef Alain Roby of The All Chocolate Kitchen, 33 S. Third St., Geneva, will mark the one-year anniversary of when he made the world’s longest candy cane last year.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, Roby will present a 10-foot long replica of his Guinness World Record-breaking, 51-foot candy cane. Then it will be broken apart and shared with guests, along with hot apple cider.
At 7 p.m., Santa Claus will make an appearance on a custom Harley-Davidson motorcycle at the store.
For information or house tour tickets, visit www.genevachamber.com.