Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

November 22, 2012

Lotito Park will shine bright this holiday season as Holiday of Lights begins

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Lotito Park will be much brighter tonight when the switch is flipped on the annual Holiday of Lights.

Deb Sarver, organizer of the Holiday of Lights, said many people she has spoken with are excited for the event to start.

“This is the start of the holiday season,” Sarver said.

“We have opened on Thanksgiving night forever. People will start calling the city weeks in advance to make sure we will still be opening up. People jogging through the park or walking through the park while we have been setting up keep saying they can’t wait until we open. I was talking with a girl at a checkout counter earlier and she said she and her family are so excited for it opening up. People are so excited for this, which is why we do it. A lot of people bring their family when they come in for the holidays.”

In addition to lighting up the park for the holiday season, volunteers at the Holiday of Lights will also be collecting donations to benefit local families in need tonight.

“The first night is also our canned food night,” Sarver said. “We collect non perishable food donations that go to benefit the Bluefield Union Mission. People are always very generous that first night when they bring in these donations.”

Sarver said volunteers and city employees have been working hard since the park closed on Oct. 1 to prepare lighted displays for the event.

“The weather has held up,” Sarver said. “Our local volunteers are finishing up connecting the power cords to the displays and changing out bulbs that are broken, burned out or have lost their color.”

Sarver said officials will test the displays at night to make sure all of the lights are working properly.

“We do tests before the event to make sure everything works, usually on the Tuesday and Wednesday night before,” she said.

“We do three or four nights where we light up the park sometimes. It can be easier to replace and change out the bulbs at night, because you can see what is missing easier at night than during the day.”

Visitors to the Holiday of Lights can also check the event’s Facebook page for the dates and times of upcoming special events, Sarver said.

“The Holiday of Lights now has a Facebook page,” Sarver said.

“We will be using that page to announce when the walk through is scheduled as well as when Santa will visit. When Santa comes, we will also be running the train in the park. We will update all information about these events and anything else we will be doing there.”

The Holiday of Lights will be open Sundays through Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays the Holiday of Lights will be open from 6 to 10 p.m.

The event runs throughout the end of November and the month of December. The final night to view the Holiday of Lights will be on Monday, Dec. 31.

— Contact Kate Coil at kcoil@bdtonline.com쑐