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by Eric Thompson
November 11, 2020
With the pandemic cancelling seemingly every event, it was shaping up to be a long, dark holiday season in West Nipissing. But thanks to a group of enthusiastic volunteers, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
Actually, there will be thousands of them.
Light Up West Nipissing – formed by local residents Sabrina Bradley, Shirley Perrin, Alain Gingras and Renee-Anne Paquette – is a contest that’s encouraging residents and businesses to decorate their properties and keep the holiday spirit alive.
“We just want people to have something to look forward to,” says Bradley. “It’s something fun to do and something to bring families back together and bring back old-school traditions. I think that’s our biggest goal.”
The entire initiative has been organized online, spawned by a Facebook post by Perrin. “I just put it out one day that, with everything that’s going on, we just needed to lighten things up for the kids and, at that point we didn’t know whether Halloween was going on,” she recounts. “Then I read that they cancelled the Parade of Lights, so I said, basically, can we just get back to the old-fashioned way, when everyone would light up their gardens and their yards and their windows and people would just take a stroll to have a look at the displays? I just felt we needed to get back to that.”
Bradley echoed those sentiments and floated the idea of putting on a Christmas lights contest. “I woke up the next morning and I had 93 comments with businesses willing to donate and over $2,000 in prizes committed overnight,” she marvels. “That was just from people I knew, never mind now that we’re live and we’re reaching – or hoping to reach – everyone.”