Leslie Wilkinson, board member of Nature’s Coastal Holiday, Brookings

The holiday season brings beloved traditions and a sense of magic.

For a lot of us, heading to holiday light displays has become as big a tradition. It brings back some great childhood memories. The annual Nature’s Coastal Holiday Festival of Lights display in Azalea Park, just off Highway 101 in

Brookings has become a popular family tradition that has been going strong for more than 20 years. Wide-eyed children wrapped in coats and scarfs watch the magic of flashing lights. Adults are busy taking pictures and Santa is stationed ready to hear every child’s most secret wish. It’s a wonderful time for everyone!

However, the display just doesn’t happen with a blink of an eye.

Unlike displays in major parks, zoos and metro areas, the Festival of Lights is a true community based and sponsored event. During the year, a core base of volunteers keeps busy repairing and replacing lights and revamping sculpture. Meetings are held to discuss improvements and additions to the displays. Marketing plans are finalized and posters, tickets, banners and ads are created. In late October, the call goes out to the public to announce the date for setup. This year, setup will be on Saturday, Nov. 4, beginning at 9 a.m.

Patsy and Jim Haggerty with about 10 to 12 other members of the Curry County Cruisers, a local car club, have been stringing lights for several years. Patsy says some folks are a bit nervous about stringing the lights. They get concerned about the way they will look. But, no worries, it always looks great. Stringing the lights isn’t physically taxing either. Some people stay for an hour or two while others come and go.” Patsy says one of the club members, Phil Nutzhorn, really enjoys setting up the Undersea Garden. “There are black lights to set up and rocks to paint. He really loves it.”

The Cruisers also host four nights during the festival. That means they man the ticket booths, patrol the park and fill in as needed.

Patsy, a very youthful 69-year-old brings her cell phone and takes pictures of the kids. She then will upload the photos to the kids’ Facebook page. “The kids love it. They look so wide-eyed looking at all the lights.” It’s her favorite part of volunteering.

This year, the Church of Latter-day Saints in Brookings is jumping in to help. .They will be here for setup and will also be helping host, distributing posters and take down the lights. Jeremy Marks from the Church of Latter-day Saints is challenging other organizations in the community to come out and help.

Klaus Gielisch, president of the Nature’s Coastal Holiday board is thrilled to have the additional help and welcomes Jeremy’s challenge. “It takes a lot of people to keep the show going and we are happy for their help.”

Mark your calendars to be at the Kid Town parking lot on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 9 a.m. Only extreme weather will cancel the set up. If that occurs, setup will be the following Saturday. Watch Nature’s Coastal Holiday on Facebook for updates prior.

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