As November 17 draws ever closer, the team at Ardmore Parks and Recreation is busily getting ready for the opening of the Festival of Lights and the Chigger Chase.
“We have a date, and it has to be ready to go,” Director Teresa Ervin said. “Overall I’d say we’re at about 75 or 80 percent complete. All of the displays are set up except for one that’s being refurbished and a new one we have ordered.”
The “S.S. Santa” is the display currently being refurbished, which means there are currently approximately 149 displays now up around Regional Park. Ervin said that electricity is currently connected to about 95 percent of the displays and they are starting to work on making sure all of the lights are working.
To ensure everything is ready for Christmas, the crews have also set the dates for their “bulb parties,” nights where crews come in late and stay until well after dark inspecting all the bulbs.
“Those nights we do a lot of unscrewing and putting in new bulbs because you can see them so much better at night,” Ervin said. “You just have to.”
When crews are not working on Festival of Lights they will try to catch up on mowing and weed eating — when it is not raining. But even those days are not entirely lost. During a heavy mist, the grounds crew works on cutting trees and building pieces for the Haunted Forest.
“In this downtime, we’ve actually been fortunate that they couldn’t get out on their tractors and mowers, so that they could help build and set up sets and generators,” Ervin said. “They’ve been great. Without them we couldn’t have pulled this off.”
The Haunted Forest has been a big success, Ervin said people have loved the scares at Dead Acres.
“There are people who’ve not made it through and honestly have cried, so we’ve had to help them out,” Ervin said. Because of this there are now people in position at various locations on the trail. She said most are liking it and some have even said it’s not that scary.
“But it’s typically the 14- to 17-year-old male who doesn’t want to say it’s scary in front of their girlfriends,” Ervin said.