Valorie Eversole Daily Union Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Since 2011 the General Dacey Trail committee has hosted wintertime candlelight walks. Hundreds of people come out for the walks, prompting one committee member to create an attraction for the walks.
Last year local landscaper and Dacey Trail committee member Bob Niestradt created ice candles after seeing a similar idea in a magazine. The ice candles lined part of the trail in addition to the traditional bag luminaria.
This year Niestradt has created a 6 foot tall luminary from lumber and butcher paper which will be placed near the refreshment area on the walk. The walk will be held Saturday, January 18, from 6-8 p.m.
“Each year we try to come up with something different. We’re always open for ideas,” Niestradt said. “It gives something for people to look forward to.”
The idea came to Niestradt as they were gathering up tea light candles from the last walk.
“They were just going to be thrown away and I wondered if there was something we could do with them,” he said.
Niestradt melted down the more than 300 candles into a mold to create one larger, 5-wick “tea light”. He created a wooden frame wrapped in chicken wire and butcher paper to resemble a bag luminary. The materials were provided by ACE Hardware, Connelly’s Building Center, and Wade’s Quality Meats.
“I will provide markers and walkers are welcome to sign, draw, or write messages on the luminary,” Niestradt said.
“One of our goals is to continually add to the experience of the walk,” said Dacey Trail chairman Jerry Yockey. “Bob’s come up with a really unique attraction with the 6 foot tall luminary.”
The walk will be the seventh one held on the trail. Luminaries line the two main trails which begin in Forest Park. The ice candles will also be added to the more than 300 bag luminaries. Area Boy Scouts help set out the luminaries before the walk.
“We want people to walk the trails at night too. We’re showing it is safe,” Niestradt said.
Niestradt said they have had as many at 375 walkers on the candlelight walks and are hoping for 400 walkers this time.
“The response (of the walks) so far has been very positive and we look forward to more events in the years to come,” Yockey said.
Refreshments of hot apple cider and hot chocolate will be served at the bonfire near the trail head. Donations will be accepted and used toward the maintenance of the trails.
A second walk is planned for March 1 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.