Christmas in July: Now is the time to think about custom displays for Festival of Lights

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
This file photo shows a display at Ardmore's Festival of lights.

There are currently 156 total displays at Ardmore's drive through holiday display the Festival of Lights – but there is always room for one or two more. While many do not think about getting into the Christmas spirit until sometime after Halloween, the process of creating a new display actually takes several months, and now is the time to begin.

Ardmore Parks and Recreation Director Teresa Ervin said any business thinking about getting their own custom display can contact her to get the process started.

“We're always looking for at least two custom displays every year, and it's first come first serve,” Ervin said. “The only stipulation we have is that it has something to do with Christmas. The basic process is for people to come talk to me and we work out some sort of design, get together a rough drawing of what you'd like, and send it off to the companies that build them. They'll send us back some professional drawings with some size measurements, and you can pick the one that best fits what you're looking for.”

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Ervin said the displays can vary greatly in size and be either quite large or more modest. Once the drawings come back things can be either added to make it larger or taken away to scale it back. It all depends on the business creating the display. From there the business will work closely with the parks department and the display company to finalize the design.

Ervin outlined the payment process which is spread out over six years.

“A third of the total cost of the display will need to be paid the first year,” she said. “For the next five years the lessee agrees to pay 10% of the total amount for each additional year.”

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This money then goes into a special Festival of Lights account that funds the event year after year.

“This helps us continue to grow and make improvements,” Ervin said. “Every year we try to expand either with new displays or with improvements to our electrical system. There are also repairs to make every year, bulbs to change every year, and extension cords to buy every year. This fund allows us to continue to grow.”