Candyland prep: Work under way to make event better

Published 3:05 am Thursday, October 26, 2017

It’s not even November yet, but Andalusia is hard at work getting ready for Christmas in Candyland.

This is the 4th year of the event, and each year it gets bigger and bigger. The month long celebration can’t happen without months of carefully crafted work.

“Preparation starts as early as January,” Chrissy Duffy, executive director of the Andalusia Chamber of Commerce said, “The budget has to be done by June.”

In the past couple of weeks, the city’s building and maintenance workers have been hard at work pouring a cement slab on Sprindale’s grounds.

In past years, the skating rink was a subfloor erected for the event, but city employees recognized a height issue.

This year, instead of risking any safety issues, the city decided to pour in a slab, which can double as a patio for the rest of the year.

That’s just a very small part of the assembly for Candyland.

Everything that goes into this south Alabama winter wonderland is custom created.

Electricity has to be provided for most of the event, so in an effort to remove ugly extension cords, electricians come out and install underground electric transmission lines.

“It’s hard to sum up everything that goes into this event,” Duffy said.

The city of Andalusia serves as the backbone for this event, although there is help from outside engineers and creative minds, which includes Burr Industries and Blockwire.

Burr Industries constructs the giant Christmas bows, fiberglass ornaments, glitter mesh creations, as well as custom foam signs and props.

Blockwire designs and produces the foam core signs, and created the large Candyland sign featured.

The theme for this year is “Winter wonderland is closer than you think,” and Duffy said there are some extras added amongst traditional Candyland décor.

In addition, the polar bear slide is longer and taller; the ice skating rink is taller; Santa’s sleigh, where Santa will visit every Saturday of the event is being added; the lighted tunnel for the train has been extended, and a polar bear ticket booth will be added.

“I feel blessed to work on this project,” Ricky Wiggins, supervisor of building maintenance for Andalusia, said, “Just by looking at all the children’s faces when they see it,”

Not only does Candyland bring joy to everyone, it also brings revenue to Andalusia.

“It’s such an exciting time to visit Andalusia, Candyland truly transforms the town,” Duffy said, “Candyland also brings plenty of retail stimulation, tourism, and pride.”

Just last year, the event drew 30,000 people.

The tax revenue has also increased by 10 percent in the last three years during the month of December.

Candyland was also featured in Southern Living as the top small town Christmas destination.

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