Craig Kropp of Candy Cane Lane
Because of the pandemic, this year’s holiday season may have to endure changes but one tradition will remain the same. Candy Cane Lane in Duboistown will continue to elate visitors because it was already built for social distancing. “I honestly think it might increase visitors this year because people want to get out of the house and more might even come,” said Craig Kropp, who has been organizing the holiday tradition for the past decade.
Each year from November to New Year’s Eve, cars slowly coast along Summer Street taking in the elaborately decorated homes.“We easily have over a 100,000 people [drive through],” said Craig. “I already had Mrs. Claus inquire if we have masks for her and Santa.”
Kropp’s family started the holiday event 63 years ago after a backyard conversation on Summer Street hatched the genesis of Candy Cane Lane. Craig’s mother, Martha Kropp, along with his aunt and uncle, Shirley and Don Fullmer, are the last three surviving family members that started the festive event. “It is a family tradition for us and I am so into Christmas and it was obvious that I would be the one to take it over,” said Kropp. His 91 year old mother, Martha, added, “I am glad he is doing it because I sure as heck can’t. He spends hours and hours [executing it].”
Work on Candy Cane Lane starts long before Halloween has even arrived. “I get lights up on the roof in case there is an early snow. I obviously don’t want to do it with snow,” said Craig. Then there is a newsletter that goes out to neighbors apprising them of preparations for the big event. Craig also assists those homeowners who need a helping hand with decorations. He insists that none of this would be possible without his neighbors pulling together. “Thank you to everyone on the street,” he said.
The organizer also reaches out to community partners who contribute each year. Local fire and police departments, Cable Services and folks from other towns have contributed in the past. This year, 22,000 candy canes will be given out to visitors which were donated by the Duboistown Fire Department. According to Craig and his family, the community’s help is a gift in itself.
Candy Cane Lane not only attracts locals, but also visitors from as far away as New York. “On Christmas Eve we have had traffic backed up over the Maynard Street bridge and no one gets upset,” said the organizer.
The amount of hours Craig and the community have put in through the decades is incalculable but it is all worth the effort to keep the tradition going. Craig said, “If you are at the top of the hill with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and you hear kids calling out for Santa, you would know why we do it. The joy people get is just unbelievable.”