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The Festival of Lights kicked off the season on Nov. 6 in the Robinson Building with the annual Candlelight Dinner and silent auction which are a fundraiser for the event. Both sessions of the dinner were sold out. Last year the dinner was not held due to COVID restrictions.

The menu was brisket with a baked potato, salad, vegetables, rolls and a variety of desserts to choose from. The rolls were provided by the Franklin County Senior Citizen Center, Brad Gailey prepared the beef and Gordon Brewster the veggies. Donations from Beutler Farm, JBS, Arctic Circle helped with the meal. Servers for both sessions were members of the Junior National Honor Society.

The Preston community orchestra directed by Anna Gray, performed live music for the sessions. At the beginning of each meal the orchestra presented a military tribute in honor of Veterans Day.

As the emcee for the second session, Mayor Dan Keller commented that the music “could compete with a Hallmark Christmas any time.”

During each dinner session the Lamplighter and Queen of Lights, Jan and Necia Seamons were announced, as were the winners of the silent auction.

The dinner and auction help fund the Preston Christmas tradition. This year, the committee has new decorations for the park as well as new ornaments for the Christmas tree and some new lights for trees along State Street, said Allyson Wadsworth, the city council member of the festival committee.

The festivities begin this Saturday, Nov. 27 and will feature a new location for the kids’ parade, variety show, and Santa’s visit. Along with food vendors, a stage will be set up for the festivities in the parking lot south of the courthouse.

The variety show begins at 3:30 p.m. and Santa will be at the "BIg Christmas Tree" from 3-5 p.m.
 
The Lion’s Club will present the kids’ movie at 4 p.m. at the Worm Creek Opera House.
 
Live music will be performed by Lilia Ebanez and Ami Phillips at 5 p.m.

The grand-lighted parade route will be on State Street following the fireworks. Floats for the parade will line up at 5:30 p.m. on 2nd Street. The parade will begin after the fireworks at 6 p.m.

At a recent city council meeting. Mayor Dan Keller thanked Wadsworth and the committee for their hard work and praised the successful Candlelight Dinner, saying “You’ve done a remarkable job. Allyson and the committee did as well. It was about as classy of an event at I have ever been to.”

Wadsworth also praised the efforts of those involved.

“We had a fabulous two dinners that went flawless. If you see any of my committee members, either Spirit or the Festival of Lights committee, please give them a pat on the back. They deserve it.”

Wadsworth has been over the committee for the last six years, but one of the new elected council members will be appointed by the mayor to take over the responsibility for the festival.

“We serve together year round to make this happen,” she said. “My Festival of Lights committee needs to be thanked (they are all amazing), and anyone who donated to the dinner and/or the silent auction. It was a huge success and we are so grateful for everyone’s support. The festival, dinner, silent auction, lights, home judging, variety show, marketing, etc. is a huge undertaking and I’m so grateful for a great committee.”

Members of the festival committee are: Allyson Wadsworth, Amber Almond, Terri Green, Tanya Ogden, Tifani Waechtler, Eric Allred, Sandy Allred, Kory Argyle and Elissa Aronhalt.

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