‘Light Up the Fairgrounds’ ushers in holiday cheer in Greenfield

  • Santa greets carloads of children and adults by the Roundhouse at the end of the holiday lights tour at the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Friday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • An illuminated tractor on display at the “Light Up the Fairgrounds” event Friday night in Greenfield. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • “Light Up the Fairgrounds” in Greenfield features 35 holiday light displays created by both individuals and organizations. They are on display for three weekends. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • “Light Up the Fairgrounds” in Greenfield features 35 holiday light displays created by both individuals and organizations. They are on display for three weekends. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • “Light Up the Fairgrounds” in Greenfield features 35 holiday light displays created by both individuals and organizations. They are on display for three weekends. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • “Light Up the Fairgrounds” in Greenfield features 35 holiday light displays created by both individuals and organizations. They are on display for three weekends. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • “Light Up the Fairgrounds” in Greenfield features 35 holiday light displays created by both individuals and organizations. They are on display for three weekends. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • “Light Up the Fairgrounds” in Greenfield features 35 holiday light displays created by both individuals and organizations. They are on display for three weekends. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 11/27/2020 7:41:23 PM

GREENFIELD — With Thanksgiving behind us, the Franklin County Fairgrounds has turned to ushering in Christmas cheer.

“Light Up the Fairgrounds,” a drive-thru holiday lights display, was organized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County with help from the WHAI radio station. On each night of the three-weekend event — which kicked off on Friday — proceeds will benefit a different nonprofit: Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Franklin County Fairgrounds and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Regional Dog Shelter.

Ericka Almeida, development director with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County, previously said the event is based on Springfield’s Bright Nights. Attendees, who were required to stay in their vehicles, were given ballots at the entrance to rank their top three light displays.

WHAI also set up a holiday channel for attendees to tune into while they drove through the fairgrounds.

“This is absolutely great,” Mike Nelson, president of the Franklin County Agricultural Society that runs the fairgrounds, said Friday. “This is exactly what we were hoping for when we started planning this a few months ago.”

Once inside, vehicles followed a path of 35 holiday light displays created by both individuals and organizations, including Charlene Manor, the Bernardston and Greenfield Kiwanis clubs, and Franklin County Technical School.

“I’m partial to the Roundhouse (display),” Nelson said, laughing. “But beyond the Roundhouse, there’s some really great displays that folks have put together”

Eric Seman, who embarked on the holiday lights tour on Friday, said the displays made by Franklin Tech and Gilmore & Farrell Insurance were among his favorites.

“It was enjoyable to go through,” he said. Santa’s guest appearance was also a crowd favorite in his vehicle.

Pam Reynolds, of Turners Falls, said the fairgrounds looked beautiful with its variety of decorations.

“It’s for three really good causes,” Reynolds said. “So I’m happy to be here and that the community is doing this to bring some cheer for a good cause.

“I’d love to see them do it again,” she added.

At the end of the three-weekend event, ballots will be tallied by a planning committee and a winner will be announced. The top three prizes, including a $1,000 first place award, are sponsored by the Franklin First Federal Credit Union.

“It’s just been really good to work with these folks who are also nonprofit organizations in our community, struggling to get through this COVID time, and to be able to help each other out,” Nelson said, “all while bringing the community some great excitement.”

Community members can drive through the Franklin County Fairgrounds on three consecutive weekends to see the holiday displays: Nov. 28 and 29; Dec. 4, 5 and 6; and Dec. 11, 12 and 13. The event will be held on each of those days between 5 and 9 p.m. Entry is a $5 minimum donation per vehicle.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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