Help needed to keep the lights on

The Glengarry News - - Front Page -

Help. That is what or­ga­niz­ers of the Alexan­dria Fes­ti­val of Lights need in or­der to avoid pulling the plug on one of the re­gion’s most popular events.

Cit­ing health is­sues and other com­mit­ments, the fes­ti­val board of di­rec­tors has is­sued an ap­peal for new vol­un­teers.

Con­tact chair­man Ron Au­bin at 613-5253151 or oc­to­ber 25,@bell­ if you want to lend a help­ing hand.

The few vol­un­teers who have helped stage the Yule­tide light show in Is­land Park for the past 11 years are get­ting burned out.

“It is nice to vol­un­teer but we also have jobs and busi­nesses,” notes Mr. Au­bin, who stresses that now is the time prepa­ra­tions for the dis­plays should be­gin. “In past years, we have usu­ally been get­ting ready at this time of year. We need at least six or seven peo­ple to come for­ward so we can start work be­tween now and the end of Novem­ber,” adds the busi­ness­man who has chaired the com­mit­tee for the past three years.

Tasks in­cluded check­ing and re­plac­ing the es­ti­mated 250,000 lights that il­lu­mi­nate the Christ­mas-themed dis­plays that are open to the pub­lic from late Novem­ber to De­cem­ber 31.

Poor health has pre­vented Mr. Au­bin from con­tin­u­ing to be ac­tively in­volved in the or­ga­ni­za­tion of the ac­tiv­ity. “I don’t mind stay­ing on and giv­ing guid­ance to the new peo­ple but I can’t do as much work out­side as I once did,” he says.

Mr. Au­bin re­lates that he and Alain Bélanger are the only com­mit­tee mem­bers re­turn­ing this year. In 2016, the com­mit­tee was com­prised of 11 mem­bers.

The fes­ti­val re­ceives fi­nan­cial sup­port from busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as the Alexan­dria Cham­ber of Com­merce, which has been a ma­jor spon­sor.

North Glen­garry Town­ship pro­vides money as well as staff who help with the setup and tear-down of the event, and the use of equip­ment and fa­cil­i­ties.

Yet, since the first fes­ti­val in 2006, most of the grunt work has been car­ried out by cit­i­zens.

About 30 dis­plays spon­sored by busi­nesses, schools and groups, were fea­tured in the 2016 edi­tion of the “win­ter won­der­land.”

Fes­ti­val or­ga­niz­ers may be forced to pull plug on ‘won­der­land’

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