Thursday, 18 July 2024

Avenue of Lights Open, Kelseyville FFA leads People's Choice Awards

LAKEPORT – With the first two nights at the Avenue of Lights display at Lake County Fairgrounds in the books, the People's Choice award competition is heating up.

More than 50,000 lights make up the 10 displays lining the main thoroughfare of the Lake County Fairgrounds for the huge nonprofit fundraiser. The Avenue of Lights is open every evening through Sunday, Dec. 21, except for Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 15 and 16.


An eclectic mix of eight nonprofit groups from throughout Lake County are helping to put together the Avenue of Lights by building 10 large holiday light displays between them. Lake County Fair has added building accents and some smaller features as well.

The groups include Hospice of Lake County, Scotts Valley 4-H Club, Lakeport Women’s Civic Club, Clearlake Church of the Nazarene, Knights of Columbus, Konocti Christian Academy, Kelseyville High School's Future Farmers of America and a new group this year, Wiloth Equine Therapy Riding Center.

Each organization has put up at least one display, and is providing volunteers to operate the event by directing traffic. The organizations will all share in the revenues from the entire event.


In addition, each car load of patrons which enters the "Avenue of Lights" receives a ballot with which to vote on the "People's Choice" for favorite displays. The top three displays will earn an extra financial prize for the organization that built the display.

The competitive nature of the "People's Choice" awards provided the nonprofit organizations with incentive to be as creative as possible with their displays, and gave them incentive to market the fundraiser to as many of their supporters as possible.

The Avenue of Lights opened Dec. 10 and runs through Dec. 21 at the Lake County Fairgrounds.

As of Thursday, Dec. 11, the Kelseyville Future Farmers of America were the clear favorite in the People's Choice balloting, with 36 percent of the votes.

The display, a huge holiday scene celebrating agricultural education, includes a large menagerie of lighted farm animal cutouts, a babbling brook and a student working on a welding project.

"Kelseyville FFA won the people's choice award in 2007, and they clearly aren't resting on their laurels this year," said Lake County Fair CEO Richard Persons. "I think they've doubled the size of the display this year, and just Kelseyville FFA's display is larger than any other display that I've seen in Lake County. When you add in the other nine displays, the avenue is pretty cool."


Other displays include one from Konocti Christian Academy, titled "The Reason For The Season," which features traditional manger scene. Konocti Christian Academy is in second place in the "People's Choice" balloting with 23 percent of the votes cast.

Scott's Valley 4-H Club's "Holiday Carousel" and Lakeport Women's Civic Club's "Holiday Home Scene" are tied for third, each with 18 percent of the votes.


Other notable displays include an animated carousel from Scotts Valley 4-H, a pastoral display of a shepherd and his flock, a nativity scene from the Knights of Columbus and the patriotic "Home for the Holidays" scene from the Lakeport Women's Civic Club, which features a soldier returning home to his family.


Vehicles are admitted to the Avenue of Lights starting at 5:30 p.m. each evening through Sunday, Dec. 21, with the exception of Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 15 and 16. The grounds close at 9 p.m.

Most cars take about one half hour to tour all of the displays and vote on the "People's Choice" award. The admission price is $10 per car. A concession stand operated by the nonprofits and offering hot chocolate, mulled cider, coffee and other snacks is available at the entrance gate.

A low power FM broadcast plays continuous holiday music on 87.9 FM, and can even be heard a short distance from the fairgrounds. Patrons can tune in their car radios and sip a hot drink while enjoying the lighting spectacle. Vehicles should enter the fairgrounds through the main entrance gate on Martin Street, and will be directed through the fairgrounds by volunteers.


The lighting displays were provided by a grant for new activity programs at county fairgrounds in California, and will remain for use in future years.

The Lake County Fairgrounds are located at 401 Martin St., Lakeport.


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