The final visitors to the 2019 Festival of Lights drove through on Monday evening, the last night of the event for the year. As guests enjoyed the show, members of the Ardmore Arbuckle Sunrise Rotary Club were there to greet everyone as they arrived and collect donations and pass out candy canes as they left.
Melanie Blackburn has been a member of the civic organization for several years, and she said they enjoy working the festive event.
“We come out every year to donate our time to help work the Festival of Lights, and we love being out here with the people,” Blackburn said. “It’s such a great display, not just for our community but we also see lots of people coming in off of the interstate. The word has really spread, and I think there is a big reputation for this particular light show.”
In addition to working at community events such as the Festival of Lights, members of the club also volunteer their time helping in other ways. Blackburn said members volunteer to work at the Food and Resource Center of South Central Oklahoma once a month.
They also do a great deal of work with area school children.
“One of our biggest projects locally is we provide dictionaries to every third grader in every school in Carter County,” Blackburn said. “That ends up being around 600 dictionaries that we give out. Each of the dictionaries has the student’s name in it, so it’s kind of a personal gift.”
The Sunrise Rotary Club also works with Take Two Academy to sponsor a student of the month and provide a scholarship program for the students.
Blackburn said that in addition to receiving some funds from events like the Festival of Lights, the organization hosts two major fundraisers each year.
“Our biggest fundraisers are our night golf tournament that we do every year in July and our El Chico Breakfast that we have every spring,” Blackburn said. “Thats a fundraiser for us, but we also partner with a school group so we can help them with their fundraising efforts as well.”
The Ardmore Arbuckle Sunrise Rotary Club meets every Thursday at 7 a.m. at the Ardmore Public Library. Blackburn said anyone interested in joining or finding out more about the group is welcome to attend as a visitor.