By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
Those holiday lights keep shining on. In its eighth year, the “Celebration of Lights” will again be delighting carloads of visitors – young and old – with its array of illuminated holiday scenes that feature a cast of festive characters.
More tha n 270 separate holiday light scenes will be giving off their bright and glowing cheer against the dark winter sky. Whimsical holiday icons … Santas, Santas and more Santas (even one on a motorcycle), wreath-bedecked reindeer, penguins, ice skaters and elves will create a bounty of merriment.
And … the more somber, sacred religious-themed scenes will depict “the reason for the season”, such as a Nativity with the North Star. There will also be a Menorah, a candelabrum, which is used for the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah, also known as the “Festival of Lights”.
The South Fairmont Rotary presents this popular holiday light show, and members say they are proud to again offer it to the community for the community – proceeds benefit the Marion County United Way.
“It should again be a fun and festive event,” said Bob Hunt, board member of the South Fairmont Rotary and project co-chair.”
The event will again be set amid the woodsy, rustic landscape of Morris Park on Pleasant Valley Road in Fairmont. People can get in the spirit early and keep it “lit” throughout the Christmas season.
The celebration opens to the public the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 27, and runs through the Sunday after Christmas, Dec. 27, mostly on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays throughout that time period. Hours of operation will be from 5-9 p.m. The event will also be open Monday through Thursday the week of Christmas, but will be closed on Christmas night.
Also, in addition to the regular schedule, the event will be open for Walkers-Only nights on Monday, Nov. 30 and Thursday, Dec. 10. “It’s a safe way for people to take a leisurely stroll through the park, enjoying the scenes,” Hunt stated.
Organizers said that there is a suggested gate donation of $10 per carload. But they encourage people to pre-purchase books of 10 tickets for $50 each, a half-price bargain.
“If you’re planning on going through several times with the grandkids, the books are a good choice,” Hunt explained and added that the books are great Christmas gifts.
Last year’s event raised $30,000, which the South Fairmont Rotary gave to the county’s United Way. “That’s a big chunk of change,” Hunt exclaimed.
He said that 70 percent of the light displays are sponsored by individuals or families. “It’s their way of saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to others,” Hunt explained. Some sponsor in honor of or in memory of a loved one, too.
Hunt reports that not only attendees come out to enjoy the displays but that many community groups, such as United Way volunteers for their “Day of Caring”, high school student groups and others come out to help set up the displays and make sure they’re in working order – such as connecting two miles of extension cords!
Hunt states the Rotary is very proud and pleased about the growth of their Celebration of Lights over the years.: “We started out with only 30 displays eight years ago; now with more than 270, we’ve grown exponentially!”
He credits their growth to the community and invites people to attend and have a great time. “We’re very grateful to the community and all of their support. We really hope to see them at this year’s event – to enjoy the holiday spirit while supporting the United Way of Marion County,” he concluded.
For tickets or more information about the event, visit www.celebrationoflightswv.com or Facebook at Celebration of Lights West Virginia; or call (304) 612-4818.