ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — We’re just a few days away from one of the brightest Stateline traditions. We caught up with a Festival of Lights organizer who says there’s nothing stopping this event.
“We’re the original social distanced event,” said Festival of Lights Co-Chairman Ted O’Donnell.
In a year of canceled traditions, Festival of Lights Co-ChairmanTed O’Donnell says the light show must go on.
“It’s a tradition, so we want to keep that tradition alive,” O’Donnell said. “We’re open, we are a socially distanced event no matter what. You’re in your car, you’re with your family, you don’t have to wear a mask in your car with your family, you can come on out, drive through, and be safe for other members of your community.”
On top of not being canceled, this year the annual festival is dedicated to the memory of John Beck. Plus, there’s even more colorful displays to look at.
“We decided we would invest more of the sponsorship money that we get into the displays,” O’Donnell explained.
“We were raised with Festival of Lights, so some displays that you’ve seen over all these years got a facelift. We went through, we completely rebulbed them, and we put different colors on them. So something you may recognize as the shape is now completely different and a new feel to it.”
“We’re trying to give a different aesthetic, a different feel every year that we’ve had this, and that’s what Uncle Joe wanted. He wanted something fresh every year and Tom and I both are continuing that concept, that dream of his,” O’Donnell added.
A group of 13 volunteers helped put the entire park together.
“We’re out there every night setting things up and early in the morning on the weekends, just so we can share the love of the holiday season, and share the love of family with everybody else that comes through,” he added.
This year will mark the 31st year for the Festival of Lights. The drive-thru events opens on November 27th.