Mayor Richard Irvin made an appeal today with the Aurora Noon Rotary Club for 100 volunteers to prepare for the 13th annual Festival of Lights.
The annual Festival of Lights is an interactive drive-through light display at Phillips Park in operation from the day after Thanksgiving through the day after Christmas. It is free to visit the display, but goodwill donations are accepted. Through those donations, Aurora Noon Rotary provides grants to local non-profits organizations. Over the past 12 years, more than a million dollars in funding has been secured through the Festival of Lights.
Due to the demanding requirements of setting-up and managing the annual display, Rotary considered postponing the Festival of Lights this year.
“When the Rotarians shared they may not hold the Festival of Lights this year, I knew we had to do something,” said Mayor Irvin. “Financial help is always great, but the urgent need is for physical assistance to keep this Aurora tradition going strong.”
The immediate request for 100 volunteers is for teams of 20 to work during five Saturdays in August and September to individually test the thousands of bulbs that light up the exhibits. Service hours are at Phillips Park from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.on August 24 and 31 and September 14, 21 and 28
“We find ourselves needing some assistance with the maintenance side of things,” said Byron Saum, a Rotarian and the retired Deputy Chief of the Aurora Police Department. “It’s going to be hard to pull the show together again without help. Some of the physical labor of moving displays and testing the lights has become a bit much for us.”
The 100 volunteers will meet the immediate need, which is phase one of a three-phase volunteer recruitment effort.
The second phase seeks businesses with such equipment as bucket trucks and small cranes to assist with the actual arranging of the displays the week prior to Thanksgiving. The third phase seeks volunteers to greet visitors at the Festival of Lights from the night after Thanksgiving through the night after Christmas.
“I know Aurorans will step up to the plate to keep this tradition alive,” said Irvin. “Once we get our first 100 volunteers confirmed, we will continue to the other recruitment phases to make this year’s Festival of Lights another success.”
The collaboration between the City and Rotary is an initiative of The Mayor's Office Service Team (The M.O.S.T), an avenue for residents and businesses to volunteer for special projects throughout the city.
To volunteer for the first phase, visit www.tinyurl.com/100VolunteersForRotary