June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Candlelight Walk drew up to 10,000 people to Public Square

MEDINA — A record number of people showed up for this year’s Candlelight Walk weekend.

“Overall I think the crowd was very much larger this year than last year, both for the parade and the fireworks,” said Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell.

Rosewood Carriage Service offered horse-drawn rides around Medina during Candlelight Walk weekend. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Hanwell said he watched the fireworks from in front of the Engine House.

“From that vantage point, you could look on the Square,” he said. “It was literally shoulder-to-shoulder people.”

Matt Wiederhold, executive director of Main Street Medina, agreed, saying, “This was the biggest ever, without a doubt.”

Wiederhold estimated 10,000 people attended the Holiday Parade of Lights and fireworks Saturday.

City Police Chief Patrick Berarducci said as many as 25,000 people may have turned out for the three-day event, which ended Sunday.

Berarducci said 15 auxiliary officers directed the heavy traffic at downtown intersections and there were no accidents.

“We just had a tremendous amount of people, so traffic was a little slow getting out of town,” he said.

City officials had suggested visitors park at several lots well beyond the Public Square area, including Medina High School, where shuttle buses were provided.

“I think the remote parking locations worked well,” Berarducci said. “If it grows next year, we’ll probably need to add a couple.”

Parking wasn’t allowed behind the county Courthouse on Saturday because of the fireworks display — a new attraction this year.

Main Street Medina raised $5,600 from private donations to pay for the fireworks, which were launched from the roof of the parking deck behind the courthouse.

Wiederhold described the display, which was choreographed to holiday music, as “overwhelming” and “amazing.”

After the fireworks, firefighters climbed to the roof of the courthouse to make sure no embers had fallen. Fire Chief Bob Painter said they used a thermal imager and found no damage.

Another new attraction this year was strings of LED lights outlining the historic buildings surrounding Public Square.

City Council spent $43,500 for the lights.

Wiederhold said some community members had been concerned the lighting would be too flashy and commercial.

“I think we kept it simple and elegant,” he said. “It highlights — doesn’t overwhelm — the architecture.”

Hanwell has credited the success of the new lighting to Medina resident Don Cartier, who volunteered to research and design the project.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.