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ST. MARYS — K.C. Geiger Park will light up this holiday season as the inaugural City of St. Marys Festival of Lights opens this weekend.
The Festival of Lights will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night through Dec. 23. The display was scheduled to open last weekend but was postponed because of weather, and will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday, featuring a slew of light displays throughout K.C. Geiger Park.
"We have about 20 (light displays) up right now," Organizer Jeremy Holtzapple said. "We have a couple more that may come this week that didn't make it by this past weekend."
He noted that the displays are all sponsored by area businesses, organizations or individuals.
"There are a couple that were sponsored by individuals that wanted to put them up, but most of them (the light displays) are sponsored by organizations or businesses," Holtzapple
While there is no charge to see the display, Holtzapple said donations of non-perishable food items, new or gently used clothing and new or gently used toys will be collected to benefit Agape Ministries and Toys for Tots.
"Any of the new toys will go to Toys for Tots, the used toys will go to Agape," Holtzapple said.
In addition to the lights display, Santa will be at the park on Saturday nights.
"One of the shelters will be Santa's house so people can stop and see him if they'd like," Holtzapple said.
This weekend, an ice rink will also be available at the park, provided by the St. Marys Optimists.
"We will have a makeshift ice rink up," Holtzapple said. "The St. Marys Optimists are going to put that up. People can skate on it if they bring their own skates. We won't have any skates available."
Holtzapple said he began thinking of holding a festival of lights in St. Marys more than a year ago.
"Over a year ago now, the city council talked about how they wanted to do more over at K.C. Geiger Park," he said. "That was originally when we started thinking about it."
Holtzapple teamed up with former Safety Service Director Tom Hitchcock and decided he wanted to make the event charitable.
"I thought it would be nice to do a festival of lights and, if we could, make it a charity event, where we collected items for those in need," Holtzapple said.
Holtzapple said he hopes the event will grow in the future.
"This is our first year, so hopefully we can take this and grow on it," he said.
"If anybody goes through and decides they want to do a display next year, they can get a hold of me and maybe we can make it even bigger and better next year."
He added that he hopes area residents enjoy the displays.
"I hope everybody comes out and has a good time," he said. "It's for a good cause."
For more information on the City of St. Marys Festival of Lights, "Like" the "St. Marys Festival of Lights at K.C. Geiger Park" on Facebook, e-mail Holtzapple at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 419-733-1428.