COVID-19 has darkened this year’s holiday season, but a new wintertime event at Otsiningo Park will bring a little much-needed light.
The new Festival of Lights, which will run from Nov. 20 through Jan. 10, will be an evening drive-thru experience with light displays and special evenings featuring fireworks and hot air balloon night glows. Admission is $15 per vehicle, but free for veterans with ID.
It’s hosted by Spiedie Fest and sponsored by Delta Engineers, Architects & Surveyors, Broome County, Visions Federal Credit Union and more than 40 area businesses. Organizers plan to make the festival an annual attraction.
“It is going to be an amazing event, and we’ll finally have something we can look forward to,” Spiedie Fest organizer Dave Pessagno said. The popular multi-day Spiedie Fest & Balloon Rally, originally planned for July 31-Aug. 2, has been canceled due to the pandemic.
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said the loss of so many community events and traditions this year has been difficult, and that the festival is a sign of hope for moving out of 2020 and toward normalcy.
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“Most people haven’t been able to do anything all year because there haven’t been any events, and they’ve been locked in their houses,” Anthony Paniccia of Delta Engineering said. “So we came up with the Festival of Lights.”
Paniccia said the event will provide families with a safe, fun and magical experience as they drive through the park past pre-lit displays.
“I’m really excited to bring this event to life, especially during difficult times like these,”
said Delta Engineering’s Danielle Naylor, who did the concept planning for the festival.
The Festival of Lights will be open from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 5 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday from Nov. 20 through Jan. 10.
Special events are planned for the following nights:
- Nov. 28: Fireworks
- Nov. 29: Food bank donation
- Dec. 5: Hot air balloon night glow
- Dec. 12: Fireworks and honor to veterans
- Dec. 19: Hot air balloon night glow
- Dec. 26: Hot air balloon night glow
- Dec. 31: Fireworks
“I think it’s a sign of hope, that we’re moving in the right direction, and sometime soon we’re going to be able to get back to normality and we’re going to move away from 2020,” Garnar said. “I think this the first sign we can get back to normal and get back to doing things we really love to do in our community.”
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