Candlelight shopping canceled in Glocester

Candlelight shopping canceled in Glocester

But shops will host extended hours

GLOCESTER – A true blow to Glocester businesses, said Candlelight Shopping and Festival of Lights coordinator Charlie Wilson, he was devastated to announce the cancellation of Glocester’s Christmas-themed activities this year.

Since the 1980s, the town has hosted the annual event that lights up the streets of downtown Chepachet every Thursday night in December until Christmas to invite visitors into the village and shop locally for holiday gifts.

Visitors would enjoy carols sung by Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, food and drink, and listen to live music while walking the candlelit Putnam Pike in Chepachet.

Wilson, owner of Town Trader at 1177 Putnam Pike, said the state left him no choice but to cancel the annual shopping event due to the ongoing pandemic.

“It is very hard on me. This is my big fun time of the year. I’ll do what I’ve got to do for the greater good of the public,” he said.

Wilson said he began scaling back his plans for the event when he learned that the Glocester Scarecrow Festival was shut down in October.

“We’re not just scaling back. We’re shut down completely. They hammered us down here,” he said.

Since reopening, Wilson said his antique business has received seven visits from state inspectors checking for compliance with COVID-19 restrictions. The Town Trader passed the inspections, and Wilson said the town is being “watched like a hawk.”

He said he was warned not to hold any event that would draw a crowd, and he realized it was in everyone’s best interest to cancel the event completely.

“There’s no Santa. No nothing. I canceled the bands, the food truck, everything,” he said.

Wilson organized the event for more than 10 years, saying he had planned on “going all out” this year to help spread holiday cheer after a rough year.

“It was going to be fantastic. Hopefully, we’ll make up for it next year with a big bang,” he said.

Local businesses are still extending regular hours on Fridays and Saturdays through December to allow for safe, socially distanced shopping.

To see extended store hours for nine local shops, visit www.candlelightshopping.com .

Wilson said he is putting up wreaths on the historic lampposts on Putnam Pike, and will put out candlelit bags on the streets. He intends to put up an 18-foot tree at the Glocester Gazebo, but will not hold a tree-lighting ceremony.

“We can’t announce when we are lighting it or the first night even, to prevent drawing in a crowd,” he said.

Wilson said other businesses will have some small festivities where possible. Chepachet Village Wine and Spirits, at 1116 Putnam Pike, invites visitors to stop for a photo with its Santa and reindeer display, sponsored by the Glocester Business Association.