Ag society seeking volunteers for festival of lights

The Strathmore and District Agricultural Society is looking for volunteers to help with the setup for its annual festival of lights ahead of their opening night on Nov. 26.

Ag Society President and CEO Ryan Schmidt said as soon as Fright Night festivities wrap up, the team will be launching into setup for the festival, which will take approximately two weeks to do.

“We have got a big call out for volunteers for that for some of the heavy lifting of getting all the panels all over the baseball diamonds in place and set up, a lot of forklift work and things like that,” said Schmidt. “The planning has been going on for a few months already and we are getting ready for opening night.”

All the displays are stored on the Ag Society grounds so setup will consist of carefully removing the displays from storage, getting them to their desired locations, setting up and testing for broken lights and other malfunctions.

Additionally, all the required electrical panels and cabling will have to be set up and repairs will have to be done from the previous year.

“Inevitably, something has stopped working from the year before, so we have to chase down all those little things, as well as put up any new displays that are being introduced this year,” said Schmidt. “For this setup, we need probably five to 10 really solid sets of hands to help. We are preferably looking for strong folks who can lift our electrical panels and so there is a core group who will do that during the first two weeks of November.”

The Wheatland Kings will also be coming out to help with setup on Nov. 6. At that point in preparations, Schmidt said a lot of the overhauling or replacement of electrical panels takes place.

For families who wish to come out and lend a hand, there is something for everyone to do, should they be interested in getting involved.

“We always need help, especially during the Christmas period when it is actually up and running. We always need help at the seniors’ cottage and at the gate,” said Schmidt.

Something to look forward to this year is a big grand opening of the festival during opening night, following the Town’s Christmas parade.

Those who may be interested are invited to hit up the Ag Society grounds for a countdown to the lights being switched on instead of the event beginning when there is still light in the sky.

“We will have sleigh rides again, we will have Santa visiting, we will have mascots, very affordable food and we will have our huge opening night raffle,” added Schmidt.

Also returning this year after being absent for the past two years due to COVID-19 concerns is the kids New Year’s Eve party.

The festival of lights is scheduled to run from Nov. 26 to Jan. 7, 2023.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times