The Times West Virginian

December 19, 2013

Celebration of Lights is open Monday for ‘walkers-only’ night

By Colleen S. Good
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — Monday, the Celebration of Lights will be open for its first “walkers-only” night from 5-9 p.m., allowing visitors to walk through the trees at Morris Park and see the displays at a more leisurely pace.

Butch Phillips, one of the main organizers for the project, said that visitors have been requesting to be able to walk through the light displays for some time.

“This is our fifth year of existence, and every year, we’ve had a certain number of people ask if they can walk instead of drive. Unfortunately, for safety reasons, we can’t allow walkers when there’s vehicular traffic,” Phillips explained.

So, they came up with the idea to open the park for a special “walkers” night.

Walkers can even bring their dogs with them, another item on visitors’ wish lists, Phillips said.

“As long as they have their dogs on a leash, because it’s a park requirement,” Phillips said.

The Celebration of Lights is held at Morris Park each year, and is open for cars from 5-9 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Dec. 29.

It has grown substantially throughout the years, from 60 displays its first year to 125 displays this year.

“So it’s bigger and better than ever, and I think they’ll have a good experience,” Phillips said. “It gives them a chance to walk through slowly and take some pictures.”

The Celebration of Lights charges $5 per car, and also accepts additional donations, all of which benefit the United Way of Marion County. For walkers, there is no minimum donation, though all donations are appreciated, Phillips said.

This year has been very successful so far, Phillips said.

“The weather has been very cooperative,” he said. “Last year, we had 6,300 visitors. I’m confident we’ll surpass that number this year.”

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.