The 10th Annual General Dacey Trail Candlelight Walk was a huge success on Saturday night, boasting their third highest attendance.
“It was a wonderful time,” said organizer Jerry Yockey. “The winds died down and the weather conditions were near perfect. We had 550 people participate. That was our third highest turnout in the 10 years of the event.”
Weather does affect the attendance and the cool, but clear weather, in the 30’s was perfect for a walk in the woods and a bonfire with S’mores.
“We had the best display of lights we have ever had,” Yockey said. “There was a place on the walk, where you could see the lights on the ground, the lights hanging in the trees, and the lights we had on the lake. People seemed to congregate there and they didn’t want to leave. It was spectacular.”
Yockey said people started arriving early, about 5:45 p.m. and at 8 p.m. they were done and by 9 p.m. the clean up was finished.
“The S’mores were a big hit, again, this year,” Yockey said. “There were big crowds around the bonfire.”
Bob Niestradt has been a big part of this event from the beginning.
“It was fantastic, a beautiful night,” Niestradt said. “I was very, very pleased. The conditions couldn’t have been better. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the glow necklaces coming down the trail and people chatting and being engaged. We entertained 550 people for a couple of hours.”
He said it was very festive and enjoyed watching a couple hundred people congregating around the bonfire and visiting.
The Shelby County Dive Team participated again this year in helping to set the lights that float on the lake. This year it was interesting that a couple of jugs got away as the Dive Team went out to retrieve the lights when the event was over.
“We have about a 20-foot nylon string attached to a rock to anchor the lights on the lake,” Niestradt said. “But the lake was up about 6-8 feet this year.”
Still, Niestradt said the display on the lake and in the trees were all in place for the walk.
“It was one of those examples of ‘if you build it they will come.’” Niestradt said. “It is such a positive event and it gets your imagination going about what we can do next year. Hopefully, we can implement our ideas.”
“Bob (Niestradt) already has some fantastic ideas for next year,” Yockey said.
Niestradt has been the creative arm of the event providing a new feature each year.
“We want to thank you for coming out to the 10th Annual Candle Light Walk on the Trail,” Yockley said. “A big thanks to our amazing volunteers who made this event possible.”
There is a video of the event on the General Dacey Trail Facebook page.