Annual Washington event to draw in more local shopping

By Beau Ebenezer

December 6, 2013 Updated Dec 6, 2013 at 12:35 PM CDT

WASHINGTON, Ill. -- The Annual Candlelight Stroll in Washington brought dozens of residents together Thursday night as they sang and strolled through the shops in the downtown square.

Many businesses in Washington were forced to close for almost an entire week in November, due to power outages and road closures caused by the tornado.

But now things are getting back to normal, and Mayor Gary Manier hopes residents become aware of the open shops.

"We are a home rural community, so our property tax is only about $1.6 million out of a $18.8 million budget," Manier said. "It is very important that the sales tax revenue keeps coming in like it has before."

Those who attended the holiday event seemed happy to carry on the traditional night.

"It's really special to come together as a community," said Washington resident Oliver Bade. "The things that are most important are the people. It's nice to go in and support them."

Signs posted throughout the shops in the square showed off the city's motto, "We Will Rise".

The tree in the center of the square shined even more pride.

Mayor Manier said they decided to go away from the normal tradition and light the tree with orange lights.

Washington will have a lot more rising to do, but with the show of support on a blistering cold night, residents have faith they are headed in the right direction on the road to recovery.

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