Firefighters continue 19th Century tradition of candy and oranges

By J. Romano

In a festive announcement, Columbia City Fire Chief LaRue has confirmed that the Columbia City Fire Department will be spreading holiday cheer by distributing Christmas candy on Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. The cherished tradition, dating back to the 1880s, aims to brighten the season for community residents young and old.

Beginning during a time when candy and citrus were luxuries many families couldn’t afford, this heartwarming initiative has persevered through the decades. The annual giveaway, entirely funded by generous donations, has become a staple in making Christmas a little sweeter for local residents.

With an impressive dedication to the cause, LaRue said the fire department manages to distribute an estimated 600 pounds of candy each year. The event will take place through a convenient “drive-thru” system, guiding eager participants north on Chauncey Street and east on Van Buren Street between strategically placed cones. Since 2020, the event has evolved into an outdoor activity.

As the holiday spirit fills the air, the Columbia City Fire Department invites everyone to join in this delightful celebration, ensuring that the tradition of generosity and festive joy continues to light up the Christmas season for years to come.

The Columbia City Fire Department asks that those attending their annual candy giveaway on Christmas Eve from 6 to 8 p.m. enter Chauncey Street from Market Street, proceeding north in a chute and then east on Van Buren Street as the map indicates.