Light show shines bright, just when it’s needed most

Arri Fineberg, 7, checks out the Walkway Arches, a popular spot for photos at the 2021-22 Celebration of Lights. Journal Photo

Bob Boulton

The Sarnia-Lambton Celebration of Lights has come a long way since 1984 when it opened with 650 lights and nine displays. And its enduring glow is just what the New Year ordered.

Bob Boulton

After returning better than ever, this year’s celebration has an extended run until Jan. 30 — a showstopper that first catches the eye and then captures the spirit.

A January drive-by on Front Street or a walk-through of Centennial Park can help lighten our hearts as we take a deep breath and head into the unknown of 2022.

The park is illuminated nightly with more than 150,000 lights and 50 displays; some of them brand spanking new. Others have been restrung and restored, continuing a transition from the original incandescent lights to conscientious and efficient LEDs. The new and improved red-blue-greens provide even brighter light with more varied colours. All in all, it’s a renewed goosebump experience.

Many celebrations over the recent Holiday season featured lights and decorations, including the oil lamps of Diwali, the five candles of Advent and Christmas, the seven candles of the Kwanzaa kinara, and the eight-plus-one lights of the Hanukkah menorah.

Individuals across the city us lit up their homes for contests and bus tours and personal satisfaction. For many religious and cultural communities it’s been a time to celebrate and make memories.

Knitting it together for everyone to enjoy is the Celebration of Lights, which gives individuals and groups an opportunity to come together as a community of communities.

The most vital activities don’t always shout the loudest. Many local businesses and organizations have contributed to this community endeavour. And it’s community minded volunteers — including neighbours and high school students and staff — who set up and take down the exhibits and lights.

Organizers say they hope the Celebration of Lights is a blessing for all — and it is.

And this year, at least, we can enjoy it until the end of the month. January is when we shift from the hot chocolate and comfort of the Christmas break to planning the future; from checking lists twice to studying bank balances, when we begin to hope for relief from winter’s weariness.

We hope that children can remain in the classroom, that businesses can reopen fully and prosper, and Sarnia can become the epicenter of bio-based industries.

Oh yes, and for a Sarnia passenger train schedule we can count on. Or at least understand.

We hope that we can sort out how to move forward in this pandemic and, like Centennial Park’s new LEDs, harmonize better with more bright light and a lot less heat.

Bob Boulton is a Sarnia writer of stories, articles and light verse.