Whether it’s getting out the holiday decorations the day after Thanksgiving and decorating the tree or going shopping as a family, every household has something that unites the members while celebrating the season.
For about a decade in Erie County that tradition has been the Firelands Festival of Lights display, which this year is open Nov. 29 through Dec. 31 at the Sawmill Creek Resort. In a nutshell, 30 nonprofit organizations show off their holiday spirit by decorating billboards and creating fun festive scenes along the roughly mile-long drive.
The event kicks off with the Ringing Swinging Silent Auction from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 29 at the Lodge at Sawmill Creek’s Wilderness Hall. We talked to Festival of Lights coordinator Jordyn Boonie about what can be expected from this magical time of year.
For those unaware of the Festival of Lights, please give us a description.
The main event is the lighting displays. All of the nonprofit organizations put together their own display, kind of themed around either a certain Christmas song or their specific organization. For example, we have the sea scouts – like boy scouts but marine based. So they’ll have a ship light display around aquatics. Everything is kind of themed around what kind of organization they are. The main event is the lights where people will come around the holidays. They want to see Christmas lights and then Santa is obviously there to attract the children.
Now the Ringing Swinging Silent Auction sounds like a good time.
It is. We have 30 nonprofit groups from Erie County that all participate. So they have a table at the silent auction. They get donations from other businesses around the area to have things to auction off. That kicks off that night. We make a lot of money from that. We also sell raffle tickets. We buy a grand prize. This year it’s a trip to Mexico. And the organizations get 90 percent of all profits. And then also that night is our grand lighting.
What other events are scheduled around the Festival of Lights?
We have hayrides every Saturday down the road, and also Santa Claus is at the Candy Cane House. You can get cookies and hot chocolate. You can drive your own car down there as well. They take donations at the Candy Cane House. Organizations get that as well.
How old is the Festival of Lights?
This is our 15th year. A lot of these groups have been with this organization since it started. So we try to every year offer them some kind of incentives to make upgrades to the displays, maybe do something a little different or create a new display.
For more information, call 419-433-3800 or visit sawmillcreek.com.