The heart of the stroll is Westerly’s High Street, which is closed off to car traffic for the night. The festivities extend over to Canal Street, Railroad Avenue and around the corner and over the Connecticut line onto Pawcatuck’s Broad Street.
“It’s really quite beautiful. The candles are very visually pleasing,” said Lisa Konicki, executive director of the GreaterWesterly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce. “You can tell something special is taking place.”
The chamber co-sponsors the annual holiday event with theWesterlyPawcatuck Downtown Business Association.
The stroll is a great way to kick off the holiday shopping season, Konicki said. The downtown businesses are ablaze with holiday spirit inside as well as out, from art galleries to restaurants to speciality stores.
About 63 merchants will participate this year. Each business provides refreshments, as well as discounts designed to draw shoppers to their doors.
“It’s a wonderful way for our stores to be noticed,” said Jay Pellegrino, owner of the Van Ghent Cafe in Westerly and a member of the Downtown Business Association. “There are some great deals here that night.”
Aside from the atmosphere and the shopping, people come for the social aspect, said Pellegrino,
“People love to come out and see their friends, and the kids really enjoy it too. The community is definitely a big part of the draw.”
And the volunteer-run event demonstrates the dedication of this community, Pellegrino said, with the town council championing the stroll and looking for more events like it.
“We try to make it as festive as possible,” Pellegrino said.
If the weather is good, Konicki expects several thousand people to take part in the stroll. They will come, she said, not only from the local community but from beyond as well.
“It’s now a time-honored tradition,” she said of the stroll. “The downtown really comes alive.” “IT’S REALLY QUITE
BEAUTIFUL. THE CANDLES ARE VERY VISUALLY PLEASING.
“YOU CAN TELL SOMETHING SPECIAL
IS TAKING PLACE.”