VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
The General Dacey Trail will once again be lit by luminaries for the annual Candlelight Walk Saturday, January 19.
The evening walk will be open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“Attendance last year was really good. That’s why we continue to do it,” said Dacey Trail committee chairman Jerry Yockey.
“We’re excited to be doing this for the third year. We’re pleased with the support from the community. We’re looking to making it bigger and better.”
The first candlelight walk was held in 2011 with over 300 people enjoying the trails in a different atmosphere. Yockey noted that in the there have been visitors from Mattoon, Tuscola, and Decatur.
Two of the trails, encompassing 2 1/2 miles, will be lined with luminaries that will give a soft glow on the path. Visitors may walk along one or both trails as they wish.
A bonfire furnished with hot apple cider and hot chocolate gives people a chance to warm up and visit with each other.
“It’s a great wintertime hike on the trail. It’s a special and unique way to experience it,” Yockey said.
Highlighting this year’s event will be the addition of ice candles mixed with the luminary bags at the beginning of the trail.
Bob Niestradt is busily creating the ice globes which are filled with votive candles or LED lights.
“It’s something new for the people to see. We’ll have to see which ones the people like better,” Niestradt said.
Niestradt said he got the idea for the ice candles from a garden center trade show and immediately thought of the candlelight walk. He began experimenting with the ice globes, trying to get just the right look.
“It’s definitely a work in progress,” he said.
The walk will begin at the trail head in Forest Park where volunteers will help with parking and answering questions anyone may have about the event. The walk is free and a donation box will available for those who wish to donate to the trail’s maintenance.
The local Boy Scouts will place the luminaries along the trails for the walk.
Another walk is planned for March 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
“Our goal was to space the walks out a little more. We picked March to avoid the coldest month of the year,” Yockey said.
“If you haven’t given it (the walk) a shot in the past two years, come out a try it,” he added.
Yockey also reported that Phase 6 of the Dacey Trail is now open. The one-mile phase extends from the Lake Shelbyville Visitors Center, through the Dam East picnic area, around to the reenactment area, along Route 16 to the Spillway area.
“A barricade is set up to keep vehicles off the trail, but it is open to walkers and bikers,” Yockey noted. “A final top coat will be put on the trail in the spring.”
The trails are open year round.