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Festival of Lights Raises $14.6K for Special Olympics, Hosts Nearly 32,000 People

“It is so exciting to hear how the kids love the show every year and hear how people love to come and partake in a local event put on for a good cause,” exclaims Park Ranger Supervisor Matt Dixon about Lake Julian’s Festival of Lights. The Buncombe County Recreation Services' festive extravaganza has become a cherished annual event that children and adults look forward to. But did you know it also helps out the Buncombe County Special Olympics? In 2021, the Festival of Lights raised $14,635 that will directly help the County’s Special Olympics soccer team at the Team USA Games in Orlando, FL this summer.

In order to raise all that money, our Recreation Services staff, members of General Services, and volunteers from departments countywide helped set up and run the month-long event. From humble beginnings 21 years ago, the Festival of Lights started as a one-weekend event comprised of some residential light strings and has evolved into a 54-piece show with nearly half-a-million bulbs that are all commercial-grade LED. “It takes all of November for set up. I love the creativity and freedom we have as a team to make the show bigger and different every year,” says Dixon. “The team here at Lake Julian takes great pride in the show, and I think it really shows each December. I look forward to seeing how our networking throughout the light show can open opportunities for us to work with other departments throughout the year.”

We appreciate everyone who came out to enjoy the Festival of Lights, and we'd like to give thanks to our talented staff for their work on this year's display.

By the numbers – 2021 Festival of Lights statistics

  • 7,409 cars
  • 31,950 people
  • $14,635 raised for Buncombe County Special Olympics

Why our staff loves Festival of Lights

“My favorite part is being able to be creative with the setup, deciding where the displays should be, and creating formations with the string lights. Working the show is also fun.” – Connor White

“The fact that it has become a yearly tradition and important community event to so many people. And that every year it gets bigger and better.” – Nick Orlando

“I enjoy the spirit of comradery amongst the staff. Also, it’s an annual tradition for many families. It's great to hear these families express excitement toward discovering what new or different things we have done with the show each year.” -- Brandon Altemose

“I love to hear from our patrons who come out and many of who are regular returning customers. It is so exciting to hear how the kids love the show every year and hear how people love to come and partake in a local event put on for a good cause.” – Matt Dixon

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Updated Jan 14, 2022 08:42 AM
Published Jan 06, 2022 12:32 PM