The First Annual Festival of Lights
Last week, OTELCO took part in Oneonta, AL’s first annual Festival of Lights. The festival was inspired by the Huntsville Tinsel Trail, and is a three-week event that features:
- A Beautiful Tree Lighting
- The Selfie Shopping Extravaganza
- A Delicious Christmas Brunch
- Music and Entertainment
- A Decorating Contest Around Town
- Candlelight Shopping
- A Parade of Lights
- And Multiple Appearances by Santa Himself
The festival was a great way for local businesses to interact with their customers. It was also a chance for some of OTELCO’s New England team members to visit Alabama for the first time. Everyone had a blast kicking off the event at the Tree Lighting, and visiting with Santa Saturday morning. Here is a quick look at the Festival so far, and the events that are still to come.
The Tree Lighting
The Oneonta Business Association (OBA), spearheaded by Patti Moss Williams, did a lovely job with Thursday’s tree lighting, which featured:
- Visit’s with Santa at DD’s Place
- A Tree Decorating Contest
- The Unveiling of the “Angels of Oneonta” Mural, Created by Local Artist Tara Murphree.
- Hot Cocoa and Baked-Goods from Valor Bakery
- Entertainment by the OHS Chorus, Wallace State Singers, and the Covered Bridge Players
OTELCO was one of this year’s Tree Decorating Contest participants, and the team had a blast creating the “Festival of Lightwave” tree. The company also had the opportunity to sponsor a tree for a local non-profit to decorate. The recipient of our sponsorship was the Lester Memorial UMC Children’s Ministry, and their tree was adorable.
The best part about Thursday night was the incredible sense of community on display. It seemed like the whole town had come down to see the tree’s all lit up. Children played among the twinkling trees, while the local chorus groups presented artfully choreographed performances. Even the OTELCO visitors from New England felt right at home (the delicious peanut butter fudge from Valor definitely helped on that front).
On Saturday the OTELCO marketing team was given a very important assignment: giving out hot chocolate and cookies to the little ones who came to visit Santa. That morning, Santa was located at Swamp Tails Cajun Restaurant and Grill, along with a team of his most important elves. Kids of all ages trickled in to tell Santa their Christmas wishes, and locals came in all morning for Swamp Tail’s delicious Christmas brunch.
Saturday was also the start of the Festival of Lights’ Selfie Shopping Extravaganza. Local consumers were encouraged to take pictures of themselves shopping at Oneonta businesses, and then to post those pictures to the OBA’s Facebook page for the chance to win a $100 gift card to the local business of their choice. The Extravaganza lasts until Christmas Eve, so there is still time to get those selfies, and some shopping, in before the big day.
Still to Come
The festival isn’t over yet! December is full of fun Christmas events, taking place all over Oneonta. Here is a schedule of what is still to come:
December 6th and 13th: Candlelight Shopping
Shop downtown Oneonta by the beautiful iridescence of candlelight. Participating business will be open until 8:00 PM both nights.
December 7th: Santa and Mrs. Clause at Blount St. Vincent’s Blount
Join the jolliest couple of all for pictures and activities, at the hospital cafeteria from 6:00 PM-8:00 PM. Pictures are free of charge.
December 11th: OBA Open House and The Parade of Lights
There will be light refreshments offered before Blount County Christmas parade, to encourage downtown shopping and dining in Oneonta. Then at 7:00 PM the parade will start. This year’s theme is “Parade of Lights”, so come prepared to shine!