Not-For-Profit Spotlight: Festival of Lights

One thing that my family and I have enjoyed doing the last couple of years is driving through the Festival of Lights that takes place at Moorman Park. Each year, I am always amazed to see the display. So much time, work, and effort goes into building and creating this amazing display for anyone to drive through and see. 

The Festival of Lights is an Illinois Nonprofit Corporation created to prepare and operate a seasonal light display for the benefit of Quincy and surrounding communities. It’s following the lead of the iconic and legendary Quincy display, the Avenue of Lights, which was headed by Bob Scott for many years and closed after the 2014 season. With big shoes to fill and giant expectations to meet, the Festival of Lights was opened in 2019. As they move forward over the course of 16 years, they hope to provide a display that meets the standard of excellence set by the former display. Bob Scott is a great example and “mentor in passing both his knowledge and experience of those 16 years on in helping the Festival of Lights resume the work of providing a seasonal lighted display in the Quincy park”.

Some people might not realize the time and work that goes into creating this display. After talking with Eric Dooley, President of the Festival of Lights, I learned that this display setup can start as early as August and continue through to opening day. We may not see it as we drive through Moorman Park that time of year, but there are areas of the park where setup has begun. Teardown can be just as long, going all the way through to April. If you have driven through and seen the displays, you know they have all sizes, from small to very large. Setting up and tearing down has to be done carefully, and each display has to be tested before being set up and then managed every day while the Festival of Lights is open and running.

So much more goes into getting the displays set up and running. It’s not just sticking them into the ground and plugging them in. With the use of so much electricity for this setup, things have to be managed and set up correctly to avoid any issues or accidents. So help from people like Jeremy Crossan, on the electrical side of things, is very beneficial and greatly appreciated. The Festival of Lights is always in need of volunteers and help from the community to make this whole thing possible.

“The Festival of Lights needs volunteers. Your time is valuable and your time is meaningful to those of us at the Festival of Lights. Like so many projects in our community that would simply not exist if it weren’t the dedicated volunteers that give of their time, the Festival of Lights only exist through the loyal volunteers that take it upon themselves to see that the work of having a display is completed; without the volunteers it is impossible for the display to continue.

If you share a passion for the light display and agree just how important to our community that having the display is, we hope that you will share of your time and reach out to the Festival of Lights.  ust some of the ways that you can help are:

• Fundraising Committee

• Volunteer Recruitment Committee

• Business Sponsorship and Custom Displays Committee

• Charitable Outreach Committee

•… and many more!”

If you want more information about volunteering, you can head to their website and fill out the contact form.

Another way to support the Festival of Lights is to become a sponsor. “ There is no doubt that it is a combination of volunteers and the support of the local business community. The support of the business community via a combination of sponsored and custom displays is a customary method for drive-through parks, like the Festival of Lights, to fund displays and counter expenses”.

Even though they are looking for volunteers and sponsors to be able to continue to provide this experience for our community, the Festival of Lights also does a lot for the community. Some of those would be donating tickets to Chaddock yearly so foster children can enjoy the lighted display, and on certain nights, they offer discounted tickets if you bring in canned goods, which will then be donated back to other local nonprofit organizations.

So, if you’ve never driven through the Festival of Lights, make sure you do. As you drive through, take a moment to remember how much goes into making this an amazing experience and something fun for the family to look forward to each year.

Submitted by Brandy Owens