GENEVA – Some 50 downtown Geneva merchants will be participating in the second annual Self Guided Jack O’ Lantern Walk from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 2.
Organizer Kristen Cornelio said merchants will display glowing Jack 0’ Lanterns in their windows or outside their businesses for families to see and vote on their favorites in three categories: Most Creative, Most Spooky and Best Group of three or more.
Children are encouraged to dress up in costumes for the evening.
Last year, Cornelio was president of the Autumn Fest Committee along with other local business owners.
Back then, the event also included a drink crawl and pet costume – neither of which are feasible this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, she said.
Cornelio organized the event herself this year, under mantle of her own small business, Kristen Holly, in which she specializes in helping small businesses with creative social media and marketing ideas.
“I decided it was time to take a leap of faith and start my own business from everything I’ve learned from working for over 15-plus years for small businesses in the Geneva community,” Cornelio stated in an email.
“I believe the Self Guided Jack O’ Lantern Walk will be something special families can enjoy for a fall themed evening while still being safe,” Cornelio’s email stated. “Many local shops and restaurants in town will be offering exclusive specials to promote shopping and dining local in downtown Geneva.”
The Jack O’ Lantern Walk will coincide with the First Fridays event, which occurs during the same time period, when participating merchants are open later in the evening and offer in-store specials that don’t start until 5 p.m.
This evening is intended to be a community driven, family friendly Self-Guided Jack-O’-Lantern Walk.
Many merchants will decorate their storefront windows to create a festive fall atmosphere. They will also be showcasing new shop arrivals and restaurants will be highlighting fall menu items.
A photo op area is set up on the Kane County courthouse front lawn facing Third Street, where a fall-themed area will be set up for participants to have their photos taken while maintaining social distancing, according to Cornelio’s email.
Harvey’s Tales, State Street Jewelers, Scentcerely Yours, Ashford at Geneva, 210 Cedar, Cedar Fox Weddings, and aSafeReturn.com are co-sponsoring the photo op area.
“There will be an attendant to help manage proper social distancing and hand sanitizing between each photo taken at the fall themed photo op area,” Cornelio stated in the email.
The photo op area is also where participants can drop off their Jack O’ Lantern votes.
St. Charles business, aSafeReturn.com,donated a plexiglass stand to ensure the voting area will be as safe as possible during the three-hour voting time.
The event will go forward, rain or shine.
More information is available at @AutumnFestGeneva on Instagram for updates and giveaways leading up to the event or by calling Cornelio at 630-200-0654.
Cornelio’s husband helped her create a QR code of the map of all 50 participating businesses to make it easier to navigate the walk using their cell phones.
“More uplifting positive community driven events and local happenings …are important to share, especially during these challenging times,” Cornelio’s email stated. “I organized and reached out to all the businesses myself … to help bring merchants together for this family friendly safe event.”