Geneva offers Santa plus St. Lucia, cookies
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media November 29, 2012 11:36AM
Geneva High School sophomore Kirstene Berg hands out cookies to children as Santa Lucia during a previous Geneva Christmas Walk in downtown Geneva. | Sun-Times Media File
Geneva Christmas Walk and House Tour
♦ Dec. 7-8
♦ South Third Street, Downtown Geneva
♦ (630) 232-6060
Updated: November 29, 2012 2:38PM
During the off-season, Santa Claus’ house got a makeover.
When children flock to visit the Big Man at Geneva’s annual Christmas Walk and House Tour Friday and Saturday, they’ll see him ensconced in his fancy new digs, said Laura Rush with the Geneva Chamber of Commerce.
“Santa’s house got renovated,” she said. “The fire chief noticed the roof needed repair. We were mentally preparing to go out for bid, when word got around the fire department. The fire fighters rallied around and in their off time, gave us a new roof. Home Depot donated all the materials which were needed. When the firefighters were done with the roof, they added a chimney, which we never had, and did some painting. It shows you how much they support the community.”
The Santa home has become a big community project that needs a little TLC every now and then, she said.
“The Christmas Walk and House Tour has become tradition,” she said. “People were calling in October asking for tickets. It’s tradition for men to take their girlfriends or their mothers.”
After the house walk Saturday, stop by the All Chocolate Kitchen and watch Chef Alain Roby attempt to break the Guinness Book of World records for longest candy cane, she said. Representatives from Guinness will even be on hand to document the 7 p.m. attempt. Roby is a two-time record holder for World’s Tallest Cooked Sugar Building and World’s Tallest Chocolate Sculpture.
The candy cane will extend 45 feet, beginning at the Geneva Courthouse and stretching to the intersection in front of the All Chocolate Kitchen at 33 South Third Street.
Before that happens, Santa Lucia — the Swedish symbol of the season — arrives at 6 p.m. with her attendants on a horse-drawn carriage in front of the old courthouse on South Third Street between James and Campbell streets.
“The tradition is, she hands out her Swedish Pepparkakor cookies,” she said. “When she places the cookie in your hand and you poke it in the middle with your finger, if the cookie breaks into three pieces your wish will come true.”
This year’s Santa Lucia is Geneva High School student Sydney Nelson, who did it last year. All but one of her attendants is returning, as well.
The Candy Cane parade will happen next. The first candy cane of the season will be carried by a local child and presented to Mayor Kevin Burns.
“It’s a very magical experience being in Geneva on Friday night,” she said. “It kicks off the holiday season.”
Then Santa will arrive to light up the 40-odd foot Christmas tree, bedecked with 40,000 lights and ornaments handmade by children. Santa opens his newly renovated home to children from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday.
Third Street will be closed off from State Street to Fulton, she said.
“On the street, we’ll have chestnuts roasting, and four different caroling groups performing at different places,” she said. “State Street will have their live Windows on State, where they have enlisted Geneva high school students to come in and stand in the window and be live mannequins for the Christmas Walk.”
The house tours of five homes run both Friday and Saturday.
“We try to get a mix of big and small, old and new,” she said. “Every house has something in it that you can walk in and say, ‘I can do that in my house.’ The decorators do a fabulous job, but they bring some realistic ideas for people.”