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Festival of Lights organizers ready for brighter year

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 11:11 PM CST
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QUINCY (WGEM) - The Annual Festival of Lights opened for the season on Thanksgiving night in Quincy at Moorman Park. Organizers said they have high hopes for this year’s return after facing several challenges last year.

Festival of Lights President Eric Dooley said last year they could not have help from the Illinois Department of Corrections because of COVID-19.

“The work camps from Pittsfield and Clayton, that come out so often and help so much, weren’t able to come out because of that, and they’ve both returned this year. That’s been significant. It’s been a huge help and grateful for that,” Dooley said.

Then, Dooley said vandals caused damaged to the displays, and thieves even stole from them last year.

“Fingers crossed we haven’t had any trouble this year. So hopefully that’s just a one-time thing,” Dooley said.

He said, however, this year things are getting back to normal, and you will see new pieces on display.

“We’ve got a new arch in Christmas Under the Sea that I think everybody is going to be excited about. So a lot of new pieces. Those are just some of them,” Dooley said.

Visitors like Michael Cline said that is what draws his family out each year

“You never know what they’re going to have, like with the trees over here I see already. They’re just totally different already this year, so we’re excited,” Cline said.

Other visitors, like Brandon Oshner, have just made it a tradition to come out.

“Our son is three years old, so for the past two years, we’ve been coming out and supported the Festival of Lights,” Oshner said.

Dooley said after seeing as many cars as he did on night-one, he thinks the future is bright for the Festival of Lights this year.

“We’re excited to see so many people lined up on our first night already. So that’s a good indicator that things might be more normal this year than they have been in the last year,” Dooley said.

Dooley said they can have anywhere from 75 to 800 cars a night.

The Festival of Lights will be open seven days a week, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., all the way up to New Year’s Day.

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