festival of lights candy cane

At the end of last December’s Festival of Lights, which covered about one-fourth of the paved trail, Kenzi Lacey (from right), 7, was given a candy cane by KSLA members Charlie Laymon and Mason Enneking. Area folks should add this to their calendars because “the Festival of Lights is a great way to get yourself out and about and converse with family and friends,” senior member Vivian Shroder says.

The second annual Batesville High School Kiwanis Student Leadership Academy Festival of Lights will be held Friday-Saturday, Dec. 13-14, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on the Brum Woods blacktop trail at the intersection of State Road 229 (Central Avenue) and South Mulberry Street.

Senior member Vivian Shroder reports, “We are enthralled to continue the Festival of Lights and hope it becomes a tradition talked about by the town, one people look forward to every year.”

There is not a specific theme. However, the lights will be more organized and follow a stricter color pattern than they did at last year’s event.

Members hope to make annual improvements. She notes, “This year we were able to purchase from last year’s freewill donations 1,600 feet of commercial grade LED lights. Last year, we had one light projector, which got a lot of positive comments. This year, we have four projector lights with 122 settings each. We are very excited about those.”

“Not only will we reuse props from last year’s event, but we will also use additional props and lights purchased by the combination of previously collected freewill donations and sponsorships.”

Shroder points out members are grateful for the generosity of local businesses “as we wouldn’t be able to make the event as grand without their help.” Special thanks goes to The Garrett Group, Gordmans, Cook’s Performance, Bird in a Tree Boutique, Werner Concrete Construction, Batesville Tool & Die and Lil’ Charlies for their contributions.

Recorded holiday music will make the display even more dazzling.

She offers advice to spectators: “Watch the weather and dress accordingly! Always wear more layers than you think you’ll need. Remember, you can take layers off, but you can’t add any on if you don’t bring them.”

Free Ghirardelli hot cocoa will be served by Joe’s Mojo Coffee Truck, Mason, Ohio, to the first 100 to arrive each night.

A free shuttle bus from Liberty Park to the woods and back will get spectators where they want to be. Shroder explains, “We realized that last year there was limited parking, and people ended up parking farther away and walking. This year, offering shuttle buses allows there to be more options for parking, as the Liberty Park lot has more spaces. People can choose to wait for the bus for easy transportation to Brum Woods, or they can choose to walk if they wish.”

There will be some handicap parking spots on South Mulberry Street at the trailhead, with wheelchairs generously donated by George’s Pharmacy for those in need.

The Festival of Lights is the KSLA Senior Group’s project, but the rest of the members will help set up and tear down equipment. Two representatives from the sophomore and junior groups will head up the project when they become seniors.

According to the senior, “The biggest challenge of organizing this event was determining just how many lights to purchase. Additionally, figuring our parking details was difficult, as we were not sure how many people to anticipate on attending.”

In addition to Shroder, members working on the lights extravaganza are seniors Mason Enneking, Lillian Esser, Elizabeth Heidlage, Charles Laymon, Adam Moster, Abigail Prickel, Macy Prickel, Kari Reer and Carlie Werner; juniors Katherine Bedel, Katherine Brewer, Olivia Cerniglia, Sidney Dickman, Grace Eckstein, Landon Gutzwiller, Caroline Kellerman, Lleyton Ratcliffe, Anna Schmaltz and Nathaniel Villani; and sophomores Maria Lopez Andonegui, Kyler Daulton, Calley Kaiser, Adam Laloge, Emily Meyer, Benjamin Moster, Brayleigh Patterson, Lily Pinckley, Sarah Ripperger and Faith Tekulve.

Three BHS teachers also are involved. KSLA Senior Group adviser Taira Lynch “has put in so much time and effort to help put this event together. We are extremely thankful for her and all she does. She’s the best, hands down!” Also helping out are Junior Group adviser Emily Bohman and Sophomore Group adviser Katie Tincher.

While the event is free, participants will have the option to purchase hot beverages at Joe’s Mojo (view menu at www.joesmojo.com) and give freewill donations if they choose.

“With the intention to continue the Festival of Lights as an annual event, donations will be put toward purchasing more lights, extension cords and other materials that will help the event grow. This year, the last 300 feet of the trail is lit with incandescent lights. Our goal is to raise enough money to purchase more LED commercial grade lights to get rid of the use of all incandescent. In years to come, we hope to light the entire blacktopped loop trail!”

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-717-3113.

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