Andalusia City Council approves Candyland expenses; local event to celebrate 10 years

Published 7:30 am Wednesday, June 28, 2023

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Christmas in Candyland will be even bigger for its tenth year after the Andalusia City Council approved several purchases related to the annual event.

Representatives of the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce, which organizes Candyland, requested the purchases, which include a 50-foot tree for the Square, a new walk-through ornament, new letters that will read Candyland, and four sails of various sizes. Total cost for the purchases is $121,400.

“It seems unreal we are already in our tenth year of Christmas in Candyland. We wanted to go ahead and get a jump-start on getting some items, especially now with them being available at a discounted cost,” said Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce Director of Membership Services Maggie Holmes.

According to Holmes, the current tree is 10 to 12 years old and stands 36 to 42 feet tall.

“She has been loved for quite a few years and has been falling apart. We would love to be able to make it bigger and better for our 10-year anniversary. Coming down Church Street, it will be really beautiful to see that in the distance. It will include the tree topper and some basic ornaments. We will reuse some of the same ornaments from the current tree. It’s the same tree we have but just bigger and better,” she said.

The new walk-through ornament will be similar to the current one at Springdale.

“It’s pretty much a staple piece at Springdale and all over Facebook. It is quite a few years old and like the tree, also falling apart. The new one will be quite larger and allow for bigger groups to take pictures with a larger space. It’s also easier to assemble and won’t take long to put together,” Holmes said.

The new letters will resemble the Hollywood sign and spell out the word “Candyland” on the Springdale lawn.

“These letters are really tall and will be unique to our event and can be used in different spaces. The ‘Andy’ part would have candy cane twinkling lights to stand out when traveling down East Three Notch. We thought it would be something unique and personalized,” she said.

Holmes stated that “Elsa” was the most photographed character each year at Candyland. The new sails will enhance Elsa’s set and enhance photo opportunities for visitors

“Her area has needed some love for quite a while. We wanted to get different sizes to stack behind Elsa for pictures. We thought it would elevate her area and can always be reused in different areas if it doesn’t stay there,” she said.

Mayor Earl Johnson said he felt it was important to keep Candyland fresh and updated.

“The people who come have been coming every year. Some have come for five years or just two years, but they all expect something fresh and new. They want to see some of the old things too, and we don’t spend this much every year on new things. With this being the tenth year, I agree that the old tree is in bad shape. There is no question we need a new tree, and I think the other things will add to what we already have,” Johnson said.

The council approved the purchases by unanimous vote.

During the business portion of the meeting, the council discussed:

  • Moving the next meeting due to the Fourth of July holiday. The council agreed to move the meeting to Wednesday, July 5, with the work session at 5:30 p.m. and regular session at 6 p.m.
  • Authorizing a sales tax rebate and contract with Saints Café. City Clerk John Thompson described the business as one that would be receiving sales tax rebates similar to others given to other establishments in the past. The council approved a 1.5 percent sales tax rebate for three years from sales generated at the business.
  • Purchasing new police equipment. Police Chief Paul Hudson said some of the current radar units used by the city are 10 to 15 years and need to be updated to better enforce speed laws and regulations. Mayor Johnson said this would put radar units in all of the city’s patrol vehicles. The council approved the purchase of five radar units at a cost of $9,837.50, which will be paid through the city’s American Rescue Act Plan funds (COVID).
  • Approving for the removal of a former dry cleaning establishment at 214 S. Cotton St. Johnson said the removal would create a passageway allowing for improvements to that area. The council approved the project at a cost of $35,190 using the city’s capital funds.
  • Approving the abatement of seven nuisance properties located on Ellis, Chickasaw, Cherokee streets, Eighth and Fletcher avenues, and Snowden Drive.

The council also approved a major sidewalk project around Andalusia High and Junior High Schools. To find more information about that project, visit

The next council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, with a workshop at 5:30 p.m. and the regular session beginning at 6 p.m. at city hall. The public is invited to attend all sessions.