Holiday Season Lights a Bright Spot Amid Pandemic Resurgence – San Diego Voice and Viewpoint

Holiday Season Lights a Bright Spot Amid Pandemic Resurgence – San Diego Voice and Viewpoint

Decorative holiday lights are displayed at the Cumberland Fair Grounds, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Cumberland, Maine. From Maine to California, more of these events have launched during the crisis, and they’re more elaborate than ever. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

The holiday season is shining brightly during the pandemic as businesses pour money into extravagant light shows to spread cheer.

By David Sharp, Associated Press

From Maine to California, more lights shows have launched during the pandemic, and they’re more elaborate than ever, with sparkly spectacles that the comedic character Clark Griswold from “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” could only dream about.

“They’re exploding because people are looking for something to do. That has been a boom for this business,” said Wayne Wheeler, whose Wisconsin-based company, Reindeers Inc., imports bulk lights and other gear used in the professionally produced shows.

Lighting displays are a time-honored tradition in the holidays, and people often drive around various neighborhoods to check out colorful lights. The commercial operations take it to another level, with hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights, synchronized music, animated props and other glowing fixtures aimed at eliciting a “wow!”

Passenger vehicles move through a tunnel of holiday lights at a display set up at the Cumberland Fair Grounds, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Cumberland, Maine. The holiday season has become more sparkly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with people and businesses pouring money into light shows to spread cheer. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

No entity tracks such shows. But the pandemic provided a boost, and commercial light shows have been popping up in fairgrounds, farms, zoos and even parking lots, industry officials say.

It turns out that viewing shimmering outdoor lights on foot, or from inside a car, is a safe activity amid surging COVID-19 infections. Ticketing is often done online, and tickets can be scanned through a vehicle’s window.

In Cumberland, Maine, the formula was a hit for Julie and Steve Lankford.

With the parents up front and their daughter and a giant, stuffed Abominable Snowman sharing the backseat, the Portland family eased their vehicle through the first “Maine Celebration of Lights” at the Cumberland Fair Grounds.

Holiday lights are displayed on a drive-thru route at the Cumberland Fair Grounds, Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Cumberland, Maine. From Maine to California, more of these events have launched during the COVID-19 crisis, and they’re more elaborate than ever. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

“It’s definitely safe that way, especially with the variants around,” Steve Lankford said of COVID-19 strains driving infections.

“And it’s warmer, too,” his wife joked.

The creator of this particular event, E.J. Dean, said he didn’t necessarily set out to spread joy. He just wanted to keep his workers employed after the pandemic nearly shut down his business, which provides amusement rides and games to agricultural fairs and outdoor festivals, all of which were canceled in 2020.

His idea for staying busy included three commercial holiday lighting extravaganzas launched during the pandemic.

“We were fortunate and didn’t lay anyone off,” said Dean, whose business, Fiesta Shows, is …….

Source: https://sdvoice.info/holiday-season-lights-a-bright-spot-amid-pandemic-resurgence/

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