The Festival of Lights has never been a socially distanced event, but even so, the Belgrade Community Coalition never considered canceling it. Members just had to get creative.
“We basically started from scratch,” said coalition Co-chair Tiffany Maierle said. “We had to brainstorm some ways to allow people to enjoy the holidays as a community (while staying safe).”
Coalition members brainstormed ways to hold several virtual and socially distanced physical events, including the Holiday Lights Park at the Belgrade Senior Center, where Community members are able to spread out and walk through the winter wonderland featuring outdoor lights and inflatables.
Maierle said the park turned out better than she expected, and it has provided folks a welcome source of joy and a way to get out of the house.
“We’ve heard nothing but great feedback,” she said. “The light park has allowed them an opportunity to take a stroll and enjoy the lights.”
The park will be lit up every night through Jan. 2 from 5 to 11 p.m., and the coalition is asking for volunteers to help take down the display on Jan. 3. Anyone interested in helping can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Other events rounding out this year’s Festival of Lights include a virtual 5K Jingle Jog and gingerbread house contest. The Christmas Convoy, a 7-mile trek through town by dump trucks, semis, pickups and more decked out in lights begins Saturday at 6 p.m. (A map of the route appears on page A18.) Today is the last day to register your truck to join the convoy.
Maierle said the convoy will be a great way for people to experience holiday lights and festivities from their homes or from their cars parked along the route.
Maierle said that even though this Festival of Lights will be different from those in past years, she is glad the coalition was still able to put it on.
“I’m most proud that we didn’t just give up. We did make it happen,” she said. “The community has definitely loved the park so far this month, and I think the convoy is going to be really exciting. We already have over 50 trucks registered.”