By Christopher Sun
Preparations for this year’s Light-Up are well-underway, with many downtown Ladysmith buildings already decorated with trees, lights and garland.
The 24th annual Ladysmith Festival of Lights is next Thursday, November 24 and Festival of Lights president Rolly Holland said everything is on schedule.
This year, 26 new trees have been added, along with new LED lights. The festival is slowly replacing their 150,000 lights with the energy efficient ones, which cost three times more than the incandescent lights.
The Boys and Girls Club has also been brought in to participate for the first time.
“We want to get kids involved early in the community,” Holland said. “They are part of the community too.”
Holland said they are hoping to engage attendees in singing a Christmas carol, which is being moved up earlier on the itinerary this year. The festival also plans to encourage more dancing after a number of kids engaged in an impromptu street dance last year.
One of the biggest issues facing this annual event is manpower. Holland said he appreciates the almost 150 people who volunteered during the November 6 workbee to help out, but there needs to be more younger people involved in the year-round planning of this annual event.
“When I go to these meetings, I see a lot of white hairs,” Holland said, explaining most volunteers sitting on the committee are older.
“We would like to attract a younger set of people who can eventually takeover.”
Holland added that the festival could not proceed without the help of volunteers.
The Festival of Lights started in 1987 and attracts over 20,000 people annually. Thousands of hours of volunteer work is put in decorating and installing lights on the many homes and businesses from Coronation Mall to Aggie Field.
More information on Light-Up can be found at www.ladysmithfol.com.