Town Talk | “A New Tradition”: 3 Lawrence Organizations Team Up This Year for a Great Holiday Driving Show with Music and Lights | News, Sports, Jobs
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Usually when I see a snowman singing it’s because I’ve fallen into a bad batch of eggnog. But this year, it’s at least just as likely because I’m at a whole new kind of big Lawrence vacation event.
Three organizations have teamed up to create a new display of Christmas lights that will take motorists through a sports complex in western Lawrence to view nearly 20 holiday displays that will be synced to the music.
The event is dubbed Lawrence Lights: Making Spirits Bright. The Sertoma Club of Lawrence, the Lawrence Board of Realtors and the Lawrence Parks & Recreation Department are working together to host the event at the YSC complex in southwest Lawrence. Plans call for the event to begin near the Thanksgiving holiday and run through New Years Day.
“The reception we have received for the idea so far has been more than fantastic,” said Tom Pollard, member of the Sertoma Club and author of the idea. “Our goal is for this to be a new tradition in Lawrence.”
Several communities in the area have driving vacation posters that feature lots of lights, lots of colors, lots of flickers, all coordinated with a holiday soundtrack. But Lawrence didn’t have such a display, although a few owners did have small-scale shows in their backyard.
It will be much like these owner displays, except that they will be displayed after display after display, and instead of being in someone’s yard, the displays will be installed in football, soccer, baseball and d ‘other grounds of the YSC complex, 4911 W. 27th St.
“We’ll even have some of them hanging from goal posts,” said Rob Hulse, executive vice president of the Lawrence Board of Realtors.
Some of the displays will be quite large and elaborate. Pollard mentioned a 16-foot-tall singing snowman, in addition to a host of dancing stars, trees, wreaths and other similar images. Hulse said the plans also included a lighted drive-through tunnel on part of the property.
“All displays will be new, newly manufactured, from our supplier,” said Pollard, who has been researching and selecting the displays since the start of this year.
“For me, every day since January is Christmas,” he said.
There are a variety of roads and parking lots on YSC property that vehicles will travel through as part of the event. The main entrance is on the South Lawrence Trafficway, at the intersection of Wakarusa Drive and 27th Street. This lit intersection can get a bit crowded, but Pollard said the event plans to use a system where people buy tickets online before their visit.
The plans call for the admission fee to be $ 20 per car. Hulse said all profits will go to the three organizations and be used for nonprofit causes. For decades, the Sertoma Club has been one of the main funders of the Schiefelbusch Communication Camp in KU. The camp is intended for children with speech and hearing problems. The Lawrence Board of Realtors Community Foundation funds a variety of nonprofit programs related to promoting safe housing and preventing homelessness, Hulse said. The Lawrence Parks & Recreation Department plans to use its share of the proceeds to fund its Wee Folks Scholarship Fund, which helps fund classes and recreation programs for children in need.
For years, Sertoma’s main fundraiser has been a big barbecue contest at Broken Arrow Park in May. COVID-19 disrupted this event. Pollard said no decision had been made on whether the barbecue competition would return in the coming years, but the club knew they had to consider other fundraising options.
“I always wondered why Lawrence didn’t have a light show like this because Lawrence definitely should have one,” Pollard said. “I told the club members my crazy idea, and their reaction was that they were really, really excited about it.”