The town of Leesburg was alight Saturday evening with both the soft glow of luminaries and Christmas-time merriment. Men and women both young and old attended the annual Leesburg Candeleria.
According to event organizer Christina Archer, this is the fifth consecutive year that Leesburg has featured the Candeleria after the event took an off-and-on hiatus for many years in the past. Archer noted that approximately 1,200 to 1,500 luminary bags and candles were supplied through donations.
“The Candeleria is among my happiest memories.” stated Archer with a smile. “We want to make someone else’s happiest memories. It is great to see the kids come and see Santa.”
Archer noted that she has many fond memories of the Candeleria from not only her own childhood, but that of her children. While reminiscing over photos from past Candelerias, Archer explained that she suggested restarting the tradition after she moved back from Texas. With the help of volunteers such as Steven Allen, who helps organize the event with Archer, the 4-H club and friends from church, the cherished tradition has returned to Leesburg.
Archer and volunteers placed the luminary bags throughout the streets of downtown Leesburg on Saturday, illuminating the night in preparation for Santa’s arrival at the Leesburg Town Hall. Children were able to share their Christmas wishes with Santa while enjoying hot cocoa and desserts served by volunteers Sue Charlton, Kay Pylant and Helen Smoker.
Christmas tunes were provided by Mike Beezley, Clunette United Methodist Church pastor, and Mike Todd.
“We are just here helping the town.” stated Pylant. “We have had a good crowd and beautiful weather.”