Jack o’ lantern walk returning to downtown Geneva

GENEVA – More than 50 merchants in downtown Geneva are coming together for Autumn Fest, which includes a self-guided Jack-o’-lantern walk from 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 1, and a First Fridays event where stores stay open later, and offer specials and giveaways, according to a news release.

The event was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, but is now celebrating its third year, organized by the marketing firm Kristen Holly, which is approaching its second anniversary. The event will happen, rain or shine.

The Jack-o-lantern walk will be a fall-themed evening exploring the charm of the unique specialty shops and restaurants while still being safe. Children are encouraged to dress up this evening.

Over 50 local downtown merchants will display glowing Jack-o’-lanterns in their windows or outside their business, with families invited to stroll around town and vote on their favorites in three different categories: Most Creative, Most Spooky and Best Group of three or more.

A digital interactive map has been created with a QR code for guests to easily scan on their phones to see all the participating local merchants. Eddie Cornelio, husband of Kristen Cornelio of Kristen Holly, the event organizer, helped create the interactive map.

A fall-themed photo op area will be on display on the Kane County Courthouse front lawn facing Third Street for participants to have photos taken while maintaining proper social distancing, the release stated. Cornelio created and designed this photo op area with the help of local sponsor Twee Partees for the community to enjoy for one evening.

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.

The event is sponsored by BEI Properties, Harvey’s Tales, Image Awards, Engraving & Creative Keepsakes Inc., Pug & Hound Pet Apothecary, State Street Jewelers, The Roder Group-Cross Country Mortgage, Little Barn Baby, Scentcerely Yours, Cedar Fox Weddings & Events, Twee Partees and Crystal Life Technology.

As a sponsor, Patty Donahue, the owner of Image Awards, Engraving & Creative Keepsakes, created the event trophies for the winning Jack-o-lantern businesses. She also created a special event mug available for purchase.

Many merchants will have their storefront windows decorated to create a festive fall atmosphere for participants to see while browsing the downtown shops and restaurants. Many will showcase new shop arrivals, and restaurants will highlight fall menu items.

Participating merchants are Nosh, Livia Italian Eatery, Evernia, State Street Jewelers, Liz N Kate, Anastazia, Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream, Cafe & Barr, Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Geneva Design House by Strawflower, Geneva Wreath Company, Cookie Dough Bliss Geneva, Cravings, Harvey’s Tales, Artemisia, Jade and The Gathering.

Also participating are Peak Fitness Studio & Retail Boutique, Pure Barre, Little Barn Baby, Pug & Hound Pet Apothecary, Stockholm’s, Jennifer Kaye Photography, Peaceful Parlour, Country Naturals, Copper Fox, Art History Brewing, Always In Style and Bare Moxie.

Also, Aurelio’s Pizza Geneva, Geneva History Museum, The Winding Deerpath, Galena Wine Cellars - Geneva location, Dancer’s Dream Geneva, Eye Candy Bake Shop, Graham’s Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream, Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse and Scentcerely Yours.

Also, Gia Mia, Grow, Flair on Third, Doughocracy, Kernel’s Gourmet Popcorn, Brush and Restore, Lash Dash, Cocoon, The Royal Wren, Geneva Winery, Elements Massage, Osteria Bigolaro, Sergio’s Cantina, Concierge Aesthetics and Plastic Surgery, Crystal Life Technology and Hawkinson Homes.

Visit @AutumnFestGeneva on Instagram for updates and giveaways leading up to the event. Event info is also on Facebook.