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December 23, 1990|IRENE CHANG

It's the night before Christmas Eve. You've already had your fill of eggnog, mistletoe and office parties. The tree is decorated, the lights are up, and all the presents are wrapped and ready to go.

Now it's time to experience a taste of Christmas from an earlier, less hectic time, with a candlelight stroll down the streets of Sierra Madre.

Throw on a scarf, bring a favorite candle and join scores of adults and children for an hour of caroling, Scripture reading and music by the Pasadena Salvation Army brass quartet. And if you're in the holiday spirit, dress in traditional carolers' garb--top hat, cape and cane.

The Candlelight Walk, a 15-year tradition in Sierra Madre, begins at 7 p.m. tonight outside St. Rita's Catholic Church, continues down Baldwin Avenue for a few blocks and stops at Kersting Court, where a child will place a doll symbolizing baby Jesus in the manger to complete the city's creche scene. Priests and pastors from several churches will recite Christmas passages, and hot apple cider will be served.

"It's wonderful, just wonderful," said Judy Webb-Martin, president of the Sierra Madre Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the walk. Webb-Martin said she joins the candlelight walk each year with her husband, daughter and son. "It's terrific to see a small town do this. It's an emotional time that's very heartwarming."

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