By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Staff Writer
One of the first events indicating the approaching holiday season took place at Eagle Point Park on Saturday.
Volunteers began placing ice castles, snowmen and candy canes throughout the park, marking the start of the set-up for Clinton’s annual holiday festival, the Symphony of Lights.
Now in its 17th year, the Jaycee’s Symphony of Lights is slated to be as enchanting, if not more, than any of the previous years, according to marketing board member Jason Balinski.
“Symphony of Lights gives people a chance to go back to their childhood and enjoy some great light displays that are still as amazing as ever,” Balinski said.
For $7 a car, attendees can drive through Eagle Point Park to witness the lighted wonder of holiday displays from 6 to 9 p.m. from Nov. 22 until Dec. 30 this year. The $7 will cover any vehicle with up to 10 people. An additional $2 will be charged for every vehicle occupant more than that.
This year attendees will notice a new lighted display, although what that display is, Balinski said, is top secret.
Balinski also said the layout of the more than 40 lighted displays will change significantly to improve aesthetics and let the displays be seen better. Some of the bulbs on displays will also be replaced by LED lights, which will create a brighter, more intense light.
This year the event board also focused on preventing thefts that have occurred at the festival in previous years. Last year, the festival was forced to shut down briefly after thieves stole more than $2,000 of copper-rich romax wire. According to Balinski, there will be a security system in place to stop vandals.
As in previous years, the Symphony of Lights is sprinkled with different events. On Wednesday, Nov. 21, attendees will get their only chance to see the lighted displays on foot at a leisurely pace during the family walk. On Saturday, Nov. 24, the 5K race will be held.
On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1 and 2, there will be a craft show with Mr. and Mrs. Claus making an appearance on Sunday. On Friday, Dec. 7, the Jingle Bell Jam will be held. Mr. and Mrs. Claus also will appear again on Sunday, Dec. 9 and Sunday, Dec. 16.
Balinski is hoping the event will continue to be a source of holiday fun and tradition that has allowed it to carry on into its 17th year.
“Being a holiday-focused event, it has allowed lots of people to create a family tradition: meet up with the family hop in the car and listen to some holiday tunes while going through the park like others have done for the previous 16 years,” he said.
The Symphony of Lights is still in need of volunteers and board members. For more information on the events, visit the organization’s website at www.symphonyoflights.org. To volunteer, contact Balinski at firstname.lastname@example.org.