LEESBURG — The annual Leesburg Candelaria is an event steeped deeply in tradition for many Leesburg families. For Christina Archer, it is this love of tradition and community that has continued to drive her to work with numerous volunteers and businesses to put on the event.
According to Archer the event, which will take place on 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, throughout downtown Leesburg, is one that she took her own children to many years. Though the event became a holiday tradition for her own children, Archer notes after making a move to Texas in the 90s, and, after a few especially cold and rainy winters, the family tradition was snuffed out. ‘
Hoping to return the lights and seasonal cheer to her hometown, Archer approached longtime Candelaria organizer Sue Charlton to ask for assistance in bringing one of Leesburg’s favorite traditions back to town. Archer organized the return of the Candelaria in 2010 and has watched the event grow over the past few years.
With the help of volunteers and area sponsors, Archer places approximately 1,300 paper bags filled with lit, weighted paraffin candles throughout downtown Leesburg, and sometimes even area subdivisions weather permitting. The lit votives create a sparkling display leading to the Leesburg town hall, where hot chocolate, sweet treats and Santa awaits. Guests may take a photo with Santa, join in on Christmas carols and music and enjoy time with their neighbors while sipping away on a warm beverage.
“I am sure we will have a wonderful time,” noted Archer, “It is nice to carry on a tradition that has been going on in Leesburg for a very long time.”
Archer notes that even if you don’t have time to stop in at the town hall, the public is encouraged to take a quick drive along School, Main, Van Buren and/or Prairie streets. Candles will begin to be lit at 4 p.m. according to Archer.