Granville Chamber will vote on removing ‘Christmas’ from name of annual event

GRANVILLE, OH (WCMH) — A controversy is growing over a holiday tradition in Granville.

For decades, the “Granville Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour” has been a community staple on the first Saturday of every December.

Recently, many residents and business owners noticed The Granville Area Chamber of Commerce changed the name of the event to the “Granville Candlelight Walking Tour,” omitting the use of “Christmas.”

“It’s not just a word,” said Elizabeth Stutzman, an area business owner. “If they take Christmas out of the name, that’s just the beginning and they will slowly keep removing these traditions.”

Earlier this month, chamber leaders wrote on Facebook that the name change was made last November and aside from that, no other changes would be made to the event.

It reads in part:

“This year we have opted for consistency in the way we refer to the event when we publish our materials.”

The name change has become an issue, where many in town have an opinion.

“We have real crises going on in this world and if we can all do something to make it more inclusive, or to help those people, isn’t that what we should be focused on especially around Christmas time?” said Deven Wrightsel, also a business owner.

The chamber has agreed to let members vote on the possible change.

A decision is expected next week.

The chamber’s statement in full:

To Our Friends and Neighbors:

Regarding the upcoming walking tour on December 2, 2017.

The Board of Directors of the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce has met in special session. Given the unusual nature of this situation and by unanimous vote of the Directors attending, the Board is providing the members an opportunity to vote on this matter. We apologize for the conflict that has been caused in our community.

Saturday each member of the Granville Area Chamber of Commerce in good standing (as of 5:00 pm on Friday, October 20, 2017) will be sent an email giving them a chance to vote on one of two names for the upcoming walking tour, either the “Granville Christmas Candlelight Walking Tour” or the “Granville Candlelight Walking Tour”.

Votes will be submitted to and tallied by the independent accounting firm of McClain, Hill & Rugg. They will keep all members’ votes confidential and will release the results publicly on the Chamber website. Voting will be open until 9:00 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017.

Each member will have one vote.

The name of the walking tour and tour logo will be determined by which of the two options receives the majority of the member votes of the members who vote.

Thank you for your many comments to date and your participation in this process. We encourage all members to vote.

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