ARTICLE FROM THE BELGRADE NEWS; ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE.
Author: Sam Weber, staff writer
Originally published: Dec 22, 2016
A local group has decided to bring some new life to Belgrade’s Festival of Lights next year.
After a few years of deflating business participation in the festival, there were fewer events around town than usual this year. At the beginning of December, Belgrade Chamber of Commerce Director Debe Youngberg said she hoped another organization in town would be interested in trying to ignite some enthusiasm for the event.
The Belgrade Community Coalition answered the call. BCC President Tiffany Maierle said her board decided to take on the challenge at their December meeting.
“It was pretty much a unanimous vote that this is something we need to do and want to do,” Maierle said. “It fits right in with our new mission of helping the community. We’re thrilled to be doing it.”
Belgrade High School has expressed interest in joining forces with the community coalition, too. As always, the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce will help out with getting businesses on board.
“I’m just excited,” Youngberg said. “I’m so thrilled they have so many good ideas and so much enthusiasm for the festival.”
Though there aren’t any solid plans for the next Festival of Lights yet, Maierle said a few ideas have been thrown around. For starters, she hopes to get the one-stop holiday shop that was held in the Special Event Center this year to be on the same day at the festival. She thinks extra kid-friendly activities like bouncy houses could be added to the venue, too.
Tree decorating and a Christmas light contest for local residents are on the table, too. Maierle is optimistic about the future of the festival because a good group of people has already shown interest in brainstorming for next year.
“I have really high hopes for everyone coming together to make it a great event,” she said. “That’s what needs to happen, everyone needs to come together. One group can’t do it alone.”
The Belgrade Community Coalition and Belgrade High School will hold a public planning meeting for the Festival of Lights on Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 5:30-7 p.m. in the BHS library. After that, committee meetings will be held every third Wednesday of the month. An online survey concerning the event can be found at www.belgradecommunitycoalition.com.
A tentative date for the 2017 Festival of Lights has been set for Saturday, Dec. 9.