There’s no fee for individuals or businesses to register their displays with the Bright Lights committee, but the registration forms are necessary to create a map of all the displays around the valley. Organizer Linda Anelli says some of the displays are works of art. “Some folks do the most extraordinary lights,” Anelli says. “That’s why the driving map is so important – and it’s fun for families to take the kids and drive around to see all the different lights.” This year’s map will be created by Phil Gilpin Jr., owner of Green Mountain Marketing.
Originally, Bright Lights was a Dover event, and included a competition and prizes for the best display. Last year the competition aspect and prizes were eliminated, and the event was extended throughout the valley, from Wardsboro to Readsboro. Anelli says the inaugural year was tremendously successful. “All of the towns in the valley totally embraced it,” she says. “They became really enthusiastic about it, and it’s showing in the level of participation this year.”
Anelli said Jacksonville had one of the top displays last year. “This year, Whitingham is putting together some townwide events.”
This year’s theme is “starry nights,” and participants are encouraged to incorporate stars into their displays. But Anelli says all displays are welcome. “The idea is to light up the valley and make it look friendly and inviting,” she says.
Last year, Anelli says, Bright Lights included a weekend of events. This year, Bright Lights runs from December 1 to March 2, and includes a series of events. “But that doesn’t mean you have to leave your lights on until March 2,” Anelli says. This year’s events include a craft fair, holiday bazaar, and children’s book and bake sale, as well as visits from Santa in just about every town in the valley. Anelli says businesses are encouraged to create their own Bright Lights events. “Last year we had Bright Lights dinners, lodging packages, and retail specials.”
Anelli says locals and visitors should check the Bright Lights web page, www.brightlightsvermont.com, on a regular basis for new specials. Information is also available on the group’s Facebook page, Bright Lights Vermont. As they did last year, WW Building Supply on Route 100 in Wilmington will sell LED lights at a special price.