MEDINA — Chris and Lisa Gray drove all the way from Bainbridge on Saturday for Medina’s 34th annual Candlelight Walk and Parade of Lights, even though Lisa had never heard of the events.
The trip was a surprise gift from Chris to Lisa, who loves small towns.
“I didn’t tell her where we were going,” Chris said. “We just got in the car and started driving.”
Lisa was impressed with her first Medina experience.
“It’s very small-town,” Lisa said of Medina and the city’s Public Square.
For the three-day Candlelight Walk, 1,500 luminarias, 5,000 votive candles and 15,000 Christmas lights decorated the center of town, and a 13-foot tall Christmas tree was lit in the Public Square gazebo. Families lined up Saturday to take cell-phone pictures of themselves in front of the tree.
Hitch-in-Time provided horse-drawn carriage rides around the square and through Medina’s historic neighborhoods. Huntington Bank hosted a Santa’s workshop featuring games, crafts and cookie decorating. And Hospice of Medina County snapped photos of holiday revelers posing with therapy dogs dressed for the holidays.
Sue and Mike Kapcoe, of Medina, and Sue’s mom, Nancy Wagner of Lafayette Township, were among thousands of people who lined up for the Saturday-evening parade, even though it was cold and a little drizzly.
“We had friends come all the way from Pittsburgh to see the Medina festival,” Sue Kapcoe said. “We couldn’t let them down.”
The Pittsburgh friends were Jill Moyer and John Bachetti, who attended the Candlelight Walk and Parade of Lights for the first time.
“We had seen photos of past holiday parades in Medina and had heard about this event for years,” Moyer said. “We were going to come last year, but it was a little rainy.”
“The lights are beautiful,” Moyer said of the town square. “It’s wonderful to see all the candles.”
The parade, sponsored by Building Blocks Adoption Services in Medina and presented by Catholic Charities, consisted of about 60 units. Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell and Santa Claus rode in the parade, and Santa made himself available for photos afterward.
A fireworks display, sponsored by The Dress Bridal Boutique in Medina, followed the parade.
Steven and Francine Durbin, of Medina, enjoyed the parade and fireworks and were undaunted by the chilly weather.
“It’s winter, so you have to expect cold weather around here,” Steven Durbin said.
Francine Durbin said it was amazing to see all the people line the square for the parade.
“It gets better every year, the beauty and the lights,” she said.