Bursting with favorite things is Geneva’s Christmas Walk, which begins just before 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, and leads to the rooftop arrival of Santa to light the giant tree.
The fun unfolds with Santa Lucia, the Swedish symbol of the season in her crown of candles, who with her attendants will hand out Pepparkakor cookies to the crowd before the lighting on the courthouse lawn at 6 p.m. A beloved tradition stepping off at 5:45 p.m. is Bob’s Candy Cane Parade, led down Third Street from Graham’s 318 by the high school flag and drum line with bell-ringing marchers to present the first freshly made candy cane to the mayor at the lighting ceremony. Back at Graham’s Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream awaits a great view of specialty confectioners working with molten sugar to pull colorful candy cane treats to give away to the crowd all evening.
The sugarplum of a lineup includes a multiple Guiness World Record-holding chef’s latest 10-foot candy cane at All Chocolate Kitchen, a live Nativity, carols sung in a landmark chapel, a Cookie Walk sale worthy of Wonka and an 18th century Italian creche exhibit at the Geneva History Museum.
There will be strolling carolers, performers and late-night shopping. Complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides begin that weekend and continue all season.
For the festival, businesses stay open late, with shops and restaurants helping build the excitement and energy, said Laura Rush, communications director for the Geneva Chamber of Commerce, which presents both Christmas Walk and a two-day house tour Dec. 1 and 2, showcasing five eye-catching homes all dressed up for the holidays. This year, they span 1857 to contemporary. Tickets for the tour and its holiday tea should be purchased in advance.
“[There are] smiles on everybody’s faces – it’s really a magical night,” Rush said of Christmas Walk.
Reservations to visit Santa at his home at 10 S. Third St. are available at genevachamber.com for $10.
For the festival, complimentary chestnuts will be roasting, and The Grinch will occupy his own Whoville corner of town.
“We are so excited to celebrate the 40th year of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva’s annual holiday Cookie Walk,” said Molly MacKay Zacker, co-chair with Jenny Montgomery of the event from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. “Our historic church will be filled with holiday cheer as our choir will be performing, a special [holiday quilt] raffle will take place, and … we will have [thousands of festive homemade] cookies to choose from.”
Continuing the sweet note, All Chocolate Kitchen will display a 10-foot candy cane homage to the 51-footer that holds the Guinness World Record, created in 2012 by ACK chef-owner Alain Roby.
“We still have kids that come in (and say) I still have a piece of the longest candy cane,” said Esther Roby, who notes it’s one of several world records for her husband, an acclaimed sugar and chocolate artist.
“He’s always so passionate; that’s what drives him to do beautiful things,” she said. “His imagination is awesome.”
She said this season he’s been transforming sugar into penguins and snowmen with branch-like arms and top hats upon which cardinals perch.
For the schedule of all the festivities, visit genevachamber.com.