BETHALTO - The Victorian Christmas Walk in Downtown Bethalto is always special but this year’s version should be one to remember as the event marks its 25th anniversary.
This event is held on the second Sunday of each December and offers visitors direct participation of life during the Victorian era. The Bethalto Spirit hosts and organizes the Christmas Walk, which starts with a Community Concert at 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church on Moreland Road.
The theme of this year’s Christmas Concert is “Repeat the Sounding Joy” and will conclude with a special tribute to area First Responders. This concert is known for its high quality and the event drew more than 700 people last year.
Bethalto Mayor Alan Winslow said the Christmas Concert will feature soloists and former directors in the major production this year, so he anticipates it to be second none in terms of Christmas events of this nature.
“The Victorian Christmas Walk area downtown will be formatted basically to what people are used to,” Winslow said. “This will be the second year to have Santa’s Workshop and that went over huge last year. Kids can come out and make toys with Santa’s elves and take them home. We will also have the Mountain Man Village again. Last year was the first year for it and we had great comments about it.”
The downtown portion of the walk will begin at 4 p.m. This unique program traditionally offers carriage rides, strolling carolers, characters in period costume, a hand bell concert and Santa’s workshop where children can make a toy with Santa’s elves and then get a picture taken with Santa. Numerous free vendors are located throughout downtown giving away such goodies as cookies, popcorn, chestnuts, donuts, coffee, hot chocolate, and wassail. Various Christmas displays will be located at the Village Hall, the Museum, the Log Cabin, the Seniors Center and throughout the downtown area.
“This is a very popular and unique event for the many residents and visitors that attend, and there is no charge for anything,” Winslow said.