When Candlelight Weekend kicks off next Thursday, many downtown businesses will be looking to recoup income lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a fiasco last year that led to confusion after some merchants prematurely declared that the event was canceled.

In 2020, then-Mayor Bill May sent a letter directing the city to follow the governor’s coronavirus Red Zone Reduction Recommendations, which led to the cancelation of several festivities including carriage rides, the holiday train exhibit and events that encouraged crowds to congregate.

However, a few downtown businesses incorrectly posted on social media that the entire event was called off the day before it was set to start.

This year’s 41st edition of the long-held tradition is slated for next Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 14.

Candlelight Weekend starts at 5 p.m. next Thursday with Family Night. The lighting of the Old Capitol Christmas tree is planned for 6 p.m. Yes!Arts will have kids' activities in the Visitors Center from 5-8 p.m. and Elsa and Olaf from “Frozen” will be walking around downtown, too. The Kentucky Dance Academy will perform on Broadway at 5 p.m. followed by the Kentucky State University drumline at 5:30 p.m. There will be body painting at the history center from 6-8 p.m. and the KSU Unity Dance Team will have a performance on Broadway at 6:15 p.m. Froggy Radio will be broadcasting live from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and the Lexington Singers will provide music at the Kentucky History Center at 6:30 p.m. The Western Hills band will close out the entertainment at 7 p.m. on Broadway.

Friday’s theme is Shop Frankfort. Starting at 10 a.m. the Illuminations Exhibit will be open at the history center. From 5-8 p.m., art demonstrations and make-and-take craft activities will be available at Silo Ridge Makers Market and a shoppers market inside the Visitors Center. Broadway Clay is offering a clay class for children from 6-8 p.m. while parents shop.

The Candlelight Cocktail Stroll is set for Saturday. Participating downtown businesses include Capital Cellars, Kentucky Coffee Tree Café, Mortimer Bibb’s, Goodwood Brewing, The Brick Alley, The Patio Pub and Trifecta BBQ. Dennis Quaid will take the stage at the Grand Theatre at 7 p.m. Tickets are required.

Ice skating at the Franklin County Farmers Market is scheduled from 4-7:30 p.m. next Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

On Sunday, the Grand Theatre will host a pajama party for the showing of “The Polar Express” at 2 p.m. and a Tweed Ride is set for 4 p.m. at the Old Capitol.

Our downtown merchants need our support and we encourage residents to get a jump on holiday buying by shopping local this holiday season.

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