LINCOLN - The Village of Lincoln will be alight with the holiday spirit on Friday with its Festival of Lights, an annual community event to inaugurate the Christmas season.
Sponsored by the village, the Lincoln Lions, and the Friends of the Lincoln Depot, the Festival of Lights brings local residents and downtown businesses together for a series of games and traditions in and around the Lincoln Depot and fire hall. Village President Phil Jordan said this year's event will be a mix of old and new.
"There are going to be a number of new things with the lighting of the village this year. There's going to be dual hay rides, there's going to be people on each wagon who are going to have an instrument and help sing Christmas carols," he said. "We're trying to add a little bit every year from this point and make it interesting and fun and enjoyable for everyone."
The body of activities begins at 5:30 p.m., about an hour after the bonfire starts outside the fire hall, with caroling, wagon rides, and carnival games including a North Pole toss, bean bag games, a cake walk, and a sucker tree. Donna Roussin will host a variety of Christmas music including live performances, and a judge will award first, second, and third place prizes for the best residential lighting displays and a travleing plaque for the best commercial display. Volunteer Sara Healy said games will keep children busy until Santa Claus visits the depot at 6:30 p.m., and all the kids will receive prizes.
"When the kids get there, they get their food, get their free hot dog and free meal, then we give them all a bag of toys and prizes, so every kid gets the same prizes, then they can just play the games while they wait for Santa," she said. "It's a totally free, fun thing to do with your family on a Friday night, and it's early in the season, so people aren't out of town yet."
Festival Chair Rich Gillies said usual attendance has declined since local band and choir students dropped out a few years ago as budget cuts forced Alcona Community Schools to cut its music programs, but the village still gave away more than 300 hot dogs last year, and after a series of new decorations and aesthetic improvements to the downtown area, people are starting to come back. In meeting on Monday, Jordan asked his fellow council members to represent the village as well.
What: Festival of Lights
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday
Where: downtown Lincoln
"Anyone who would like to help, we could probably use help flipping hot dogs or whatever. Just show up and say you're willing to help, and we'll all have a good time," he said. "I would like to see as many (council members) there as possible."
Andrew Westrope can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5693.