GALLIPOLIS — Local volunteers gathered at the Colony Club on Second Avenue Wednesday night to string light balls together as Gallipolis in Lights once again prepares for another holiday season filled with glowing balls and neon-colored Christmas.
“Our goal for this year is another 300 additional (light balls),” said Gallipolis in Lights Committee Chairperson Shari Rocchi. “We have 1,000 already so we are shooting for 1,300 total. The last time we had a workshop we made maybe 85. I would love to reach our goal (soon).”
Light balls are made from chicken wire and then volunteers run lights through the balls to be hung in Gallipolis City Park. Throughout the year, the group holds its 5k race and lights up its runners and the course, as well as holds a gala event in order to raise funds for the organization. The group has always sought to “enhance” the holiday season as it decorates the park for the holiday season. GIL previously spent money on a sound system to be equipped in the park after the light balls had been hung so visitors could enjoy holiday music as they strolled through the park in the evenings to enjoy seasonal flare.
The group has been lighting up City Park since 2013. Rocchi and Lance Clifford have been credited with starting the lighting event by spreading word and questions over social media to gauge interest. Eventually enough members were gathered to launch the project. GIL members were inspired by lighting displays out of Greensboro. N.C. Each light ball reportedly has 50 lights in it.
“We’ve already started putting up (lights) in the park,” said Rocchi. “We’re doing that to make sure we can get them all up. We’ve got a lot of different lights coming. We have a really awesome Santa that we’re adding this year. We have a live nativity scene that churches will take turns coming to the park and (engaging in).”
GIL always has a lighting ceremony and this year it’s Nov. 23. In the past, the group has allowed children to write essays explaining why they believe they are the best person to throw the holiday season light festival’s switch. GIL members pick through the applicants to determine who gets the honor. The starting time is expected to be 6 p.m. that day with the lights going on at 7 p.m. Some musical entertainment is expected to be present.
“We’re having a pageant this year Nov. 13,” said Rocchi.
This will be GIL’s fourth year holding the light festival. GIL expects to hold its gala Dec. 1 at the Elks Lodge in Gallipolis.
For more information visit gallipolisinlights.webstarts.com or the group’s Facebook page.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2103.