Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 15, 2013

Walkers enjoy Holiday of Lights despite frigid cold

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, Va. — While visiting the Holiday of Lights has become a Yule Tide tradition for many families, walking through the light show is also a tradition for some families — even on a frigid, sub-freezing Sunday evening.

“We do this every year,” Beth Sizemore said. “I would say that walking through the park is the best way to see the lights. This is a tradition for our entire family.”

Sizemore and her family appeared to enjoy several traditions within the tradition of experiencing the Holiday of Lights on foot. When the family walked beneath the mistletoe arch on the back end of the park loop, everyone in the family gave each other a smooch.

Sisters Jordyn Maples, 9, and Emily Treolo, 6, appeared to enjoy everything about the experience.

“We ice skated on the ice in the parking lot while we were waiting for it to open,” Maples said. “It’s fun.”

Marie Seidl, an exchange student from a community Southeast of Munich, Germany walked through Lotito Park to see the Holiday of Lights. Seidl is studying international business at Bluefield State College. She has volunteered to staff the front gate to the Holiday of Lights before and was volunteering on Sunday. However, the walking tour was the first time she saw the holiday light show on the inside.

“We don’t have any parks in Germany like this,” Seidl said. “It’s beautiful. It makes me think of Christmas at home.”

Clayton McChesney of Bluefield, Va., walked through the park wearing snow glasses that put an interesting tint to the holiday lights.

“I did it last year too,” he said as he walked through the parks with his parents. “Everyone thinks I’m wearing 3-D glasses.”

“We like opening the Holiday of Lights for people to walk through the park,” Dwight Godwin, director of the Bluefield Parks and Recreation Department said. “I think it’s a great way to experience it.”

“We have done this every year for the past five or six years,” Dana Neely, of Princeton, said as she was exiting Lotito Park with her husband and son. “We have a cup of hot chocolate before we start our walk, and a Dairy Queen Blizzard after we’re done. It’s all part of the tradition.”

Following the hour-long walking event, the Holiday of Lights opened for vehicles at 6 p.m.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com