Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

November 21, 2012

Family tradition — Lighting ceremony ushers in season

Ready or not, the 2012 holiday season is just about here. And, in a little more than 24 hours, volunteers will be throwing the switch on another edition of Bluefield’s popular Holiday of Lights.

The annual tradition is a fine example of small-town pride and community volunteerism. And it has become a beloved local tradition in our region. Deb Sarver, organizer of the Holiday of Lights, said city crews and volunteers have been working around the clock to get everything ready for Thanksgiving night. In all, between 7,000 and 8,000 bulbs have been replaced by the volunteers in anticipation of Thursday’s lighting ceremony.

In what has become a Thanksgiving night tradition for families across the region, a large crowd will once again be on hand Thursday at dusk to witness the official lighting ceremony. The celebration marks the official start of the holiday season in the two Bluefields. It also helps to attract thousands of visitors to Lotito Park each November and December.

The Holiday of Lights will run from Thanksgiving night through New Year’s Day. The event will be open Sunday through Thursday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Setting up the annual display — consisting of more than 650,000 holiday lights — is no easy job. It has taken a team of volunteers and city crews months to prepare this year’s display. This year, offenders with the Mercer County Day Report Center also have helped with the enormous task of getting the display of lights ready.

As in years past, we are overwhelmed by the number of hours, the time-intensive work and the visionary forethought of those who have labored to create this illuminated holiday wonderland at city park.

The Holiday of Lights is truly a premiere attraction for the two Virginias during the joyous holiday season. It is also a wonderful tourism and economic tool for our region as the annual display draws thousands of visitors each year to Bluefield from a 60-mile radius and beyond.

We salute all those who have labored through the years to make this magical, wonderland scene an incredible reality for the people of the two Virginias, as well as our many guests and visitors to the two Bluefields.

It is our hope that families across the region will once again be at Lotito Park Thursday night as well to celebrate the official start of the 2012 holiday season in the two Bluefields with the lighting of this magnificent display.

Once the switch is thrown, we know Christmas is near.

Happy Thanksgiving. And let the 2012 holiday season begin!

 

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