This holiday season this year is looking to be merry and bright for Vandalia, as organizers are attempting to put on a brand new tradition.
The Old Tyme Christmas and Festival of Lights Committee is now accepting donations for the inaugural event, which will be held in Rogier Park in December.
The Old Tyme Christmas Presents: A Festival of Lights will be held on the upper loop o the walking trail at the park. The committee has set a goal of $30,000 to purchase the light decorations and other operating costs.
Anyone interested in purchasing a display has until Sept. 1 to purchase a display and until Sept. 15 to buy a memorial angel.
As of late last week, there were 37 displays already purchased, with more coming in.
“None of this would have been possible without them,” Huhn said. “Because of this generosity, we will be able to offer an event that will not only attract out of town visitors to our community, it will result into generated revenue from those visitors, whether it be by shopping at our local businesses, dining at one of our restaurants, perhaps bowling or watching a movie, or any of the other great activities that Vandalia has to offer.”
The displays at Rogier Park will be illuminated on weekends throughout December. Operating hours will be from 5 to 9 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
The work behind the new Festival of Lights event has been ongoing since earlier this year. Committee member David Dugan said he and his wife Angie approached City Clerk Carla Huhn about the idea after they had their first Christmas season without their son Kyle, who died in February 2021. The couple had seen the success similar events had had and thought the event could go over well in Vandalia.
“My wife Angie and I contacted Carla to try and get this going, and she loved the idea,” Dugan said. “She loved the idea and we ran with it.”
In addition to having Christmas displays strewn throughout the park, the attraction will have memorial angels, which people can purchase specific decorations to honor loved ones who have passed.
“Each angel will have a name and will be placed along the walking path,” said committee member Amber Daulbaugh.
Huhn said any donation amount is greatly appreciated, and organizers are in hopes that this new addition in Christmas attractions can prove to be a popular event for years to come.
“We look forward to building on this project for years to come with the goal of this being a must see event during the holiday season,” she said.
To donate to the event, visit https://givebutter.com/BbW9ky. Those interested in purchasing a display can find options at https://www.christmasdonebright.com/ and coordinate with City Clerk Carla Huhn on what is available.
Anyone who has questions or wants to volunteer can call the Vandalia City Hall at 618-283-1196 for more information.