Holiday Lights Festival
For more than two decades people have come from around the Mid-Ohio Valley to enjoy the festive holiday lighting displays in and around Belpre.
When the lights are flipped on, a new season of the Belpre Holiday Lights Festival will begin.
This lights festival is all about getting involved to make a better community.
Volunteers Jim Craven, left, and Dana Fouss fix and check lights displays for the 24th annual Belpre Holiday Lights Festival in the organization’s building on Gene Street behind the city building on Saturday as they prepare for the event, which begins at 6 p.m. on Nov. 21.
The lighting displays, which include poinsettia, angels and a carousel, all made of colored strings of lights with metal frames, are added to each year with new displays each year.
Newer displays include the ships of Christopher Columbus – the Pinta, Nina and Santa Maria; the “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil” trio; a kangaroo; a bird fighting to catch a worm and a “Holiday Lights Sign.”
All displays are made in house at a state-of-the-art workshop manned totally by volunteers. Electricians, engineers, businesspersons, students, Boy Scouts…they all work tirelessly year-round to make the festival possible.
The festival began in 1989 with Bob Jackson and the Belpre Woman’s Club placing two doves near the Parkersburg-Belpre Bridge.
Now approximately 195 displays and most of them have two or more parts, so we really have more than 250 individual lighted pieces.
The carousel is the largest with 13 pieces.
The popular holiday lights displays are placed around the city, in parks, along roadways and on buildings. About 30 percent of the displays are animated with lighted movement and often tell a story.
The members of the Belpre Holiday Lights Committee work 11 months each year designing, building and placing displays in their Gene Street building to be placed around the city and in Civitan and Howes Grove parks during each holiday season. Volunteers are always welcome. Call 740-525-2373 to discuss volunteer opportunities.
The annual Festival of Lights Parade is traditionally held the Saturday after Thanksgiving at 6 p.m. and includes floats, walking groups, carolers and horses and riders from individuals and groups throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley.
All participants in the parade, which is sponsored by the lights committee and coordinated by the Belpre Lions Club, are required to be illuminated with Christmas lights and reflect the holiday spirit, said committee member Nancy Sams.
Local pageant winners welcome Santa to town, and he and Mrs. Claus greet children at Civitan Park following the parade..
For information on placing a unit in the parade, call the Chamber office at 423-8934.