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Light-Up gets head start

| Friday, Nov. 29, 2002

More than 6,000 motorists are expected to drive through Clinton Community Park in Findlay to view the ninth annual Christmas Light-Up Celebration.

The light display usually opens up to the public each year on the last Saturday in November. But this year, thanks to good weather and many helping hands, the light display opened a week earlier, said Lloyd Faux, one of the event organizers.

The display is open from 5 to 10 p.m. daily through Jan. 5. Organizers are asking for a $7 donation per car.

Faux said it would take an average of 15 minutes to pass all the displays by car.

"It's wonderful this year. It's a winding road through the park, so you don't know what is going to be around the bend. You'll never know what's coming," Faux said.

But here's a hint:

  • Ten additional display packages, purchased for $2,100 from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, will feature animals, including a giraffe, lion, bear, tiger and orangutan.

    Frank Herman, founder of the Clinton Park light display, learned the zoo had decided to sell the displays after announcing last year that a walking tour of festive lights would be canceled due to low turnout, Faux said.

  • Plywood at one end of some pavilions has been painted by Findlay resident Carol Yankus to make the pavilion look like an authentic log house. A door to the "house" is open so that onlookers can see a lighted Christmas tree inside.

  • Live horses decorated with lights will be featured the first three Saturdays in December, weather permitting.

  • Other displays throughout the park tell the story of the birth of Christ and "The 12 Days of Christmas."

    "The display has a theme — it's set around a Christian Christmas spirit, and that is explained in the lights," Faux said.

    It took seven weeks to put up the lights, with the help of three local families. Last week, about 20 volunteers helped the group put on the last-minute touches.

    "We had good help and good weather so last week we were ready to go — outside of a little bit of fine tuning. We had a good response our first week even though we didn't advertise," Faux said.

    It is estimated that from now until Jan. 5, at least 30,000 people will view the display.

    Three tour buses are scheduled to roll through.

    "It just gets bigger and bigger every year," Faux said.

    Faux wasn't certain how many lights are strung up. "But there has got to be at least 150 trees along the roadway wrapped with lights. The roadway is bright enough that you can go through there without your lights on," he said.

    All the money collected is donated to various charities, including the West Allegheny Food Bank and the Salvation Army. This year, the organization also will give out two partial education scholarships to students who volunteered setting up the displays.

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