Most of us don’t start thinking about Christmas until right after Halloween, when all stores change out their displays. At Ardmore Parks and Recreation, however, their plans are always several months ahead. 

Director Teresa Ervin said they often begin working on Festival of Lights in February.

“That’s when we get all the numbers from last year, so we’ll know what we have to work with going into this year,” Ervin said. 

During Monday’s meeting of the Regional Park Authority, Mita Bates, President and CEO of the Ardmore Chamber of Commerce was present to provide statistics about the money raised during the 2018 Festival of Lights. The Festival of Lights Auction brought in $16,527.07 which is an 18 percent increase from the previous year. Sponsorships generated more than $60,000, and drive-through donations brought in just under $54,000, a decrease of around $1,600. After accounting for expenses, like advertising and maintenance, of existing displays, the total raised comes to $82,599.48.

When added to money already in the Festival of Lights account, this brings the total amount of money available for the festival to slightly over $175,000 — $25,000 more than the account held this time last year.

With this money, the board has decided to purchase a few new displays. Ervin said now is the best time to purchase them because they are typically on sale this time of year.

“Typically they run a 25 percent sale on those this time of year,” Ervin said. “So I’ve already reached out to everybody. So long as the numbers play out, we’re looking at having one new custom display, one reworked display and three new ones.”

This contrasts greatly with last year’s festival in which there was only one display — the S.S. Santa was completely reworked, and they only ordered one new small display.

Other items discussed included the Lakeview Golf Course, and it’s no surprise the green remains soggy. They are, however, planning to put a new roof on the club house today — as long as the weather cooperates.

Ervin also added that plans for The Clubhouse are still moving along.

“Things are looking great and I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to put everything in front of the commissioners for a vote at their first meeting in March,” Ervin said.