We’re not sure if the term, “sweet sixteen” applies to special events, but sweet certainly applies to how the sixteenth annual Lights of Christmas went this past December. Crowds of people came to enjoy all the sights, sounds, and experiences of this celebration of Christ’s birth.
Despite a very soggy December, people came in good numbers. There were only about four of the 22 nights we didn’t have rain. Yet, by the time The Lights closed for the last time, more than 63,000 people had attended. That is only 9,000 less than the attendance at the 2011 Lights of Christmas when the weather was nearly perfect every night!
We put out a call for volunteers to come help us with this event. More than 980 people came, volunteering over 11,600 hours of service! Some of them worked nearly every night!
The comments we hear most often from the people who attend The Lights have to do with how a volunteer helped them, or shared a smile, or gave them helpful information, or blessed them in some other way. It isn’t just the beautiful light displays, or the donuts, or Bruce the Spruce that The Lights of Christmas are known for. It is also the volunteers who help make the experience such a special one!
Speaking of donuts, according to Pat Patterson, General Manager at Warm Beach, there were more than 130,000 donuts sold during The Lights this year. Pat calculates that if that many of those little donuts were laid end to end, they would reach all the way from the Camp into Stanwood!
We praise God for the blessings He poured out on The Lights this year and for the impact it had in the lives of so many people. Now it is on to next year as we begin to prepare for more fun and excitement!
Warm Beach Camp seeks local artists working in any two-dimensional media to submit visual art for display at The Lights of Christmas -- the largest holiday light display in the Northwest that combines live entertainment, children’s activities, food, and overnight getaway options. Visual artwork will be on display and available for purchase in the Starry Night Coffeehouse, an indoor venue at The Lights of Christmas, where attendees can take in live holiday entertainment including spoken word performances and acoustic music sets. The Lights of Christmas is expected to draw 50,000+ people for the month of December.
Warm Beach Camp, 20800 Marine Dr. Stanwood, WA 98292
Deadline to Apply: November 26th, 2012
Key themes related to this exhibit are: Stars, Light, and Christmas
Velda Millard, The Lights of Christmas Project Coordinator
firstname.lastname@example.org / 800-228-6724 ext. 2225
A flurry of activity is going on around Warm Beach Camp as we get everything ready for the opening of The Lights of Christmas on November 29. This event has become a holiday tradition for families and many churches and organizations throughout the Pacific Northwest. People are touched as this lavish celebration of Christmas points to the amazing love that God gave us through the gift of the Christ Child and brings the real meaning of this holiday into central focus.
One way to experience The Lights is by bringing a group. You may have been at The Lights before, but when you come with someone who has never been here, you get to experience it all over again through their excitement. Coming with a group also gets everyone into the event at a special group price. Groups of 20 or more receive $2 off per person, and groups of 40 or more receive a $4 discount per person.
The Lights of Christmas makes a great holiday event for your family, church, Sunday school class, staff, or civic group. Several churches use this event as an outreach in their community, inviting those outside the church to attend with church members.
Each year, there are families who have their Christmas celebration at The Lights, bringing the entire family to a performance at the Baylight Dinner Theatre. Groups of eight or more to the dinner theatre receive a discount of $6 per person or $2 for the Sunday Dessert Matinee, plus we do the dishes!
I encourage you to share The Lights with your family and friends, church or civic group, as an opportunity to share the message of Christmas with those who have not yet received God’s gift in their life. You will find moments when it is just natural to share your faith, and many people tell us there is a special feeling when they are at The Lights. Share this feeling with those you love. Share the ministry of The Lights of Christmas this year.
Christmas is truly a magical time of the year. That is particularly true here at WBC as everything comes together for The Lights of Christmas. But this event doesn’t happen by magic. A lot of planning and work goes on all year long to pull it all together.
The light hanging crew start hanging lights the first week of September and their work isn’t finished until all the lights are down in early February.
The effort always builds to a fever-pitch in November and December! One of the high points is the Thanksgiving Working Weekend, November 22-25. During this event, volunteers help to do the final set-up, placing the last of the indoor and outdoor decorations. Velda Millard who orchestrates this event said, “During Working Weekend, you get to meet new people and be a part of this huge event.”
During The Lights of Christmas, which opens November 29th, more than 100 volunteers are needed each of the 22 nights the event is open. As you can imagine, there are a wide variety of jobs: indoor hosting, parking attendants, pony ride attendants, train conductors, and much more.
And then, as suddenly as it all began, the event is over! And yet, even then we aren’t through. The two days after The Lights closes, December 30 and 31, is “Take-Down,” the last big push to make the event happen, when the decorations are all packed up and put away in storage.
This is always when we have the hardest time getting enough volunteer help. Velda says, “Unfortunately, if we don’t have enough volunteers for Take-Down, we spend months putting away decorations instead of a couple of days.” A good Take-Down crew is essential to the success of next year’s event and determines how quickly we can wrap up the loose ends of The Lights this year.
The volunteers of these three events are the heroes of The Lights of Christmas! Would you like to join us? To sign up or see a complete listing of volunteer opportunities, go to The Lights of Christmas Volunteer Page on our website.
Let the magic begin!
Are you interested in being a volunteer for The Lights of Christmas this year? Whether you are an old hand at volunteering for The Lights or you are thinking about getting involved for the first time, we have a program where you can hear the new plans for the event, learn about all the volunteer opportunities, and get answers to your questions about what’s up with The Lights. In fact, that’s what it’s called: “What’s Up with The Lights?”
But, there’s more! This is an opportunity to reconnect with your camp friends and get special discounts at The Camp Store, and we even provide snacks!
“What’s Up with The Lights?” is Sunday, October 7, from 3 to 5 pm in Cedar Lodge. Please come join us for this informal time of fellowship, fun, and helpful information. It will get you in the Christmas spirit early this year!
If you can’t make it to “What’s Up with The Lights?” you can still get information about volunteer opportunities and even sign up by going to the Camp’s volunteer website. You can also call Jessica Wilson, WBC’s volunteer coordinator, at 1-800-228-6724 ext. 2276 to get more information.
See The Lights from the inside this year. Be a volunteer!
The Lights of Christmas this past December was amazing. The weather was amazing. The number of people who came to the event was amazing. The lives that were touched by the event were amazing. The whole thing was…well, amazing!
The weather prognosticators said that we could expect a colder, wetter winter. We prayed that this wouldn’t happen until December was over. And the weather was unusually mild for nearly the entire month! What a blessing.
We asked that the Lord bless the event with good attendance. More than 72,000 people came, far surpassing the previous record high of 56,000! There was one night when 8,700 people came, and we finally had to close the front entrance and turn people away. Maybe that was more blessing than we wanted. But we are thankful for each person who came to experience the celebration of Christ’s birth.
We put out a call for volunteers to come help us put on the event. More than 720 people volunteered one or more nights during the 20-night run of The Lights. Some of them worked nearly all of the nights. We were blessed again!
Then we learned that The Lights of Christmas had been honored by the American Bus Associate (ABA), an association of tour bus operators, naming The Lights as one of the top 100 festivals in North America for the third year in a row. And Mainstreet.com named The Lights one of the ten best light displays in the United States. Truly amazing!
Last month, The Lights of Christmas received an Excellence Award from the Snohomish County Health department in the category of Temporary Food Service Establishments. Awards for excelling in food service practices were given out in six different categories, the winners selected from among the 3,300 food service establishments in the County. We were honored!
We praise God for the blessings He poured out on this year as we lavishly celebrated God’s gift to the World — His Son Jesus.
The Lights of Christmas for 2010 is now over, and just like you, we are busy putting all of the Christmas decorations away for another year. But, before we relegate the event to history, it’s good to take a moment and look back at what God did over this past month.
More than 56,000 people attended the event this year, the highest attendance ever for The Lights! There was one night when nearly 7,000 people came to enjoy all of the activities. God blessed us with wonderful weather, night after night, for which we are thankful.
But more than just looking at the numbers, the important thing is that The Lights touched a lot of people.
In the Prayer Chapel during The Lights, we provide cards where people can share their prayer requests. These tell of health problems, spiritual struggles, financial difficulties, hurting families, and those dealing with personal loss. It is humbling to read these touching requests that people share with us. And, we do lift up these requests in prayer before the Lord.
You probably have not seen all of these requests, but God knows each one, and I invite you to join us in praying for all of the people who were touched by The Lights this year, and left a request for prayer in the Prayer Chapel. If you would like to receive a booklet with the prayer requests we received, we are happy to send it to you. It is available in printed form or we can email it to you in PDF form. Contact Donna at email@example.com, or by calling the Camp office at (360) 652-7575 (Local)/(425) 743-5471 (Seattle)/(800) 228-6724 (Toll free).
There is a flurry of activity going on around the grounds at Warm Beach Camp as we get everything ready for The Lights of Christmas. Each day brings us closer to December 2 when we will open the event for the 2010 season.
It takes a lot of hard work, and a small army of people to get everything put together for The Lights. Why do we make all this effort for an event that lasts just 20 nights?
It is because this event touches a lot of people. This lavish celebration of the amazing love that God gave us through the gift of the Christ Child brings the real meaning of Christmas into central focus.
We have heard from people who had their marriage relationship restored, or began taking their family to church after coming to see The Lights. There are those who heard the true story of Christmas for the first time here. Several churches use this event as an outreach in their community, inviting those outside the church to attend with church members.
I encourage you to share The Lights with your family and friends as an opportunity to share the message of Christmas with those who have not yet received God’s gift in their life. You will find moments when it is just natural to share your faith. Many people tell us there is a special feeling when they are at The Lights. Share this feeling with those you love. Share the ministry of The Lights of Christmas this year.
After all, what better gift could you give them this Christmas season?
Rich and Lydia Crouch have been creating theater for The Lights of Christmas nearly since it started. Their involvement came to dramatic heights last year when they directed and produced the wildly popular Uff Da! It’s Christmas, performing to packed out audiences every Sunday night on the Joyland Concert Hall stage.
Get to know Rich and Lydia, you’ll soon realize that they have a very unique philosophy behind everything they create. They started their own non-profit, Show and Tell Family Projects, with a conviction that they can help build stronger families through creating new works of art.
“We had someone say to us, ‘you aren’t doing theatre, you’re doing social work’,” says Lydia Crouch.
“For the actors, their families, and everyone involved, our productions should build healthy community. If the process is healthy, the results are a good end product,” says Lydia Crouch. “We believe that theater can be a positive thing for families, when it’s done right. It has been for us. Both our kids, Davis and Laina, have been very involved with us, and it has drawn us all together.”
Warm Beach Camp is excited to partner with Show and Tell Family Projects again this year, bringing Uff Da! It’s Christmas back to the Joyland Concert Hall stage, twice each Sunday night. The Lights of Christmas Director, Loren Isaac exclaimed, “As we partner with them, their passion becomes our passion. We are of one mind as we seek to demonstrate God’s love to all, and provide opportunities that create special memories for the thousands of families that enjoy The Lights of Christmas each year.”
[leftimagecaption src="/images/stories/loc/Uff-Da-Its-Christmas.jpg" alt="Uff Da! It's Christmas - The Lights of Christmas"]Rich and Lydia Crouch (front center) and the cast of Uff Da! It's Christmas, which performed to packed out audiences at The Lights of Christmas in 2009.[/leftimagecaption]
Live family-friendly entertainment is one of the hallmarks of The Lights of Christmas. This year, we’re excited to announce a new venue for general admission. In place of what used to be the Stage Too Theatre in Cedar Lodge, we are introducing the Starry Night Coffee House.
Patrick Patterson, Administrative Director, explains the decision to replace the Stage Too Theatre venue. “Instead of a separately ticketed event, we wanted to create a new venue that adds value to the General Admission experience, at no additional cost,” explains Patrick. “Also, we wanted a place that appeals to a different audience than our other entertainment venues.”
The new Starry Night Coffee House in Cedar Lodge will host spoken word performances and acoustics sets. Visual art from local artists will be on display and available for purchase. Food concessions include espresso and assorted baked goods.
At The Lights of Christmas, four more entertainment stages will feature nightly performances from local music and theater groups. The Joyland Concert Hall features a variety of choir, band, dance and drama performances. In Tinhorn Town, guests can take in live bluegrass and country music. At the Victorian Caroler’s stage, attendees will enjoy nightly 4-part harmony caroling performances. In Deer Mountain Lodge lobby, a lively story-teller will recount an epic holiday tale. The Lights of Christmas also offers a separately ticketed Dinner Theatre and Sunday Dessert Matinee, with a production of “Christmas on the Tumblin’ D” by Victoria Ritchey.
For more information visit WarmBeachLights.com