The holiday season: Festival of Lights to open Saturday, deadline to register for parade set for Friday

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
All of the displays for the upcoming Festival of Lights were lit up Tuesday evening for a "bulb check" in advance of the drive through holiday light display which opens this Saturday.

Though it may not feel like Christmastime outside, the holiday season is just around the corner. In fact, two very important dates are coming up later this week. The deadline for entries into the Parade of Lights is set for this Friday, and the Festival of Lights will be opening on Saturday evening.

The annual nighttime parade is set to return on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. after taking last year off due to the coronavirus. Ardmore Main Street Authority General Manager Allison Meredith said there are approximately 50 entries so far, and the deadline for entries is on Friday, Nov. 19. Applications can be found online at www.ardmoremainstreet.com and can be scanned and emailed to admin@ardmoremainstreet.com or dropped off in person at the AMSA office located inside the Tivoli Theater. 

On Saturday, the holiday season truly begins in Ardmore at Regional Park. The Chigger Chase returns in the afternoon and will be immediately followed by the opening of the Parade of Lights. The 1.5 mile drive through light installation will feature over 150 individual displays and will run every evening through December 30.

Preparation for the Festival of Lights began in September, so the crew at Ardmore Parks and Recreation have been diligently working on setting up and testing out displays for the past several weeks. Because it is difficult to tell whether or not an individual bulb is working during the day, the task has included several night nights. In fact, on Tuesday evening all of the displays were lit up as 16 Parks and Rec. employees searched for any burnt out bulbs.

The Festival of Lights will be open on Sundays through Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. through December 30. The event is free, however donations are accepted at the end of the drive through. Several local nonprofit organizations will be working the event with the donations split between the organization and the maintenance and upkeep of the displays.