GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis in Lights will once more blaze forth for its fifth year in Gallipolis City Park the night before Thanksgiving, this Wednesday, with lighting festivities beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the lighting ceremony beginning at 7 p.m.
“We’ve been setting up for a while now,” said GIL Chairperson Shari Rocchi. “We’ve been setting up since before Halloween. We’ve got around 1,300 lighting balls this year and we’ve mostly maintained what we’ve had. We have a few new surprises though coming.”
Rocchi said over 150 organizations and individuals have signed up with GIL to take part in the organization’s Tree Walk to place a custom Christmas tree along the pathways in City Park.
Miss Gallipolis in Lights Alexis Wothe is anticipated to “throw the switch.” State Representative Ryan Smith is anticipated to also be part of the evening’s activities.
Tractor and wagon rides will be available around the park during the event and Santa Claus is anticipated to be there to speak with families.
“We’re adding some greenery to the light poles so everything looks a lot more beautiful during the day and we’ll have our a rain light tree,” said Rocchi.
Gallipolis in Lights has been continually putting light balls in City Park since the 2013 holiday season. Rocchi and Lance Clifford were credited with starting the lighting event through discussions over social media with the community in order to gauge regional interest. Group members were then gathered and volunteers started to create light balls out of chicken wire. The idea originated with a community in Greensboro, N.C. Volunteers make light balls out of chicken wire by cutting a certain length of wire and rolling it. The balls are then fastened together with zip-ties to shape a globe. Lights are then strung through a ball with typically 50 lights in each ball.
In May of past years, GIL has hosted an Electric Walk and Run with participants dressing in neon colors and clothing light displays.
According to the Gallia Convention and Visitors Bureau through a partnership with the Gallipolis in Lights Committee, the groups have developed a new group package for tour bus operators and group leaders throughout the region. The bureau is reaching out to these bus operators and inviting them to experience Gallipolis in Lights displays this holiday season. The groups aim to not only bring visitors for the lights displays, but also to discover downtown activity opportunities.