Now that the lights have gone dark at Loy Park, the committee behind Grayson County Holiday Lights is looking at getting things ready for next year’s run.
Elf Services Coordinator Jodi Platt, otherwise known as the county’s purchasing agent, said she was happy with the way her first season in charge of the display had gone and very impressed with the volunteers, the workers who kept the lights on and the support that the display received from the community.
There was a bit of work that went into getting a few of the more well worn displays in usable shape this year. Folks from the Grayson County maintenance crew keep those displays lit and running from year to year and this year a few of them were more work than usual.
For that reason, some of the displays are on the list to be replaced including the “12 Days of Christmas,” “Poinsettia Arch” and the “Merry Christmas” salutation at the end of the display. Some of those had to be held together for one last year with everything from zip-ties to welding.
Staff will use some of the $96,648 in donations garnered by the display this year to replace those individual displays this year.
The money donated will also be used to pay for other necessities like electricity and, if needed, the expansion of electricity into some adjacent areas of the park to allow for more displays. It also pays for overtime for county employees who work to put the lights up, keep them running and take them down.
One of the oldest displays at the park, a white light fountain with swans, is also one that is likely to be discontinued after this season. While the committee agrees that the white light displays are striking and something different that adds to the overall display, the ones that are currently being used are almost beyond repair. For that reason, they will be taken out of rotation.
Platt and staff will go through the available displays and pick out some options to send out to the rest of the committee for their discussion and approval. Then next year, the display’s 20th year, there will be some new designs to go along with the fan favorites.
Switching to LED lights has helped make changing out displays easier, the maintenance staff have said because they don’t have to be as worried about the electrical load of each individual design.
One of the things that Platt said she wants to institute in her second year with the event is to make sure that each group of volunteers taking up donations at the end of the display has a cheat sheet of sorts to answer the questions that people pose as they make their donations. She said she heard some questions while she was working the display and didn’t immediately know the answer and she felt sure other volunteers probably feel the same.
The story behind how the lights got started and has been kept going all of these years is an interesting one and it should be available for the volunteers to discuss with the patrons who keep the lights on year after year.
Speaking of those volunteers, Platt said about 30 of them attended the thank you reception held at after the display closed for the year and she hopes to hold another such event in 2020. Platt said she thinks getting the word out about the event earlier in the season will help to allow more of the champions who show up to take up the donations and greet those car loads of visitors who attend.