Festival Of Lights Fri. & Sat.
Counting down the hours until the “Fulton County Festival of Lights” lights up the nighttime sky, Shain Mellott and his team of elves at the Grease, Steam and Rust Association and the Fulton County Fair Association are checking their to-do list to make sure this year’s first light display is one to remember for all ages.
With only a little more than a month’s planning into the event, Mellott has been using his time wisely, making contacts with local businesses, gathering much-needed holiday decorations and checking old Saint Nick’s calendar to ensure the big man in red has time to visit with area children. The end result of this dedication will astound those who travel to the Fulton County Fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday.
The Festival of Lights gets under way both nights at 5 p.m. Motorists are urged to enter the upper east gate of the fairgrounds to drive through the display of lights prepared by 21 local civic organizations, businesses and churches around the midway. Cost to the enter the fairgrounds is a nominal fee of $2 per vehicle.
Visitors can end their tour of the fairgrounds with a stop by the rabbit barn that has been transformed into quite the Christmas scene. According to Mellott, Mc- Connellsburg resident Kent Fraker donated all of the antique memorabilia dating back to the 1940s and 50s. From an old Hoosier cabinet to an antique sewing and ironing board, the setting painstakingly arranged by Fraker provides the perfect location for Santa Claus to sit down for a photo opportunity with area children.
“This is the best place in the state to get a photo taken with Santa that has a nostalgic feel to it,” said Mellott, standing alongside a carefully crafted plate of cookies and note to Santa outlining a child’s Christmas desires. Rounding out the display is a sleigh belonging to Clem and Jana Malot decked out with lighted evergreen garland and bows.
Donations have also been gathered, Mellott said, that will allow youngsters to leave the fairgrounds with a variety of treats, including popcorn balls, candy canes and oranges. Homemade cookies and hot drinks will also be available, and a fire pit has been designed for those wishing to sing songs by the fire and enjoy a s’more.
Mellott added Calvary Independent Baptist Church of Mc- Connellsburg will be bringing its live nativity to the adjacent horse barn.
The Festival of Lights will run through 10 p.m. both evenings. Ribbons will be awarded to winners of the light display at the conclusion of the second night in the categories of churches, civic organizations, school groups, businesses and families. Winners will be selected by motorists who will be given voting sheets as they enter the fairgrounds and collected as they exit.
Any additional money raised through the event will be donated back to the community.