The main focus of the event was around the walking lights tour built in the driving loop at the Hydaway Outdoor Recreation Center.
On Dec. 2-3 and 8-10 from 6-9 p.m. the gates were opened to anyone in the public to come walk through, not just Liberty affiliate. A total of about 400 people came in total over all 5 nights.
Attendees were greeted with a warm fire and candy canes at the front gate, followed by a plywood cutout to take pictures with. After, there was a living room scene, a nativity scene, and a forest of candy canes leading to a decorated gazebo. There were light refreshments and another, larger fire to gather around and make s’mores.
Following the gazebo, there was a workshop for participants to wood burn their own ornaments, a station to write letters to Santa, and a final table to pass out free Outdoor Recreation ornaments. The entire path was lined with luminaries, and there was an abundance of twinkling lights throughout.
Michael Ellsworth, Director of Outdoor Recreation, speculates this event will get a lot in the future.
“I think this year was a good start,” Ellsworth said. “We’re only going to keep growing every year from here on out.”
Everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy the festivities, with the only criticism being that they wished it was bigger.
“I thought it was so cute,” Kaylee Caps said. “They just need more lights, and definitely more fires.”
Some nights were lower in attendance than others, and Jacen Hamilton, a manager for Outdoor Recreation, had an idea why that might be the case.
“I think the cooler weather might be keeping some people away,” Hamilton said. “Tonight it was 22 degrees, and that’s too cold for a lot of people to walk around outside.”
Overall, the staff working and everyone in attendance seemed to be pleased with the event and were already talking about next year’s Christmas at Hydaway. (348 words)