Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Winter Spirit in Lewiston, ID


When I was a little girl, Christmas lights were among my favorite things.  I can remember many holiday drives in the evening when my parents took us around to see the lights.  Back then, there were competitions and every year several homes would go all out to decorate for the holidays.  That was probably about 35 years ago.  Then we went through a session when few people put up Christmas lights and during the past twenty years there has been another change – for more decoration.

Back in the early 1990’s, a group of Lewiston people began decorating what we locals call Locomotive Park.  There is an old early 20th century locomotive that has had its home there ever since I can remember.   There is also a large curving park that circles around what would be Highway 12 as it enters Lewiston, ID and continues over to Clarkston, WA.  As you can probably tell by the names – our two cities here in the LC Valley are named for Lewis and Clark.  Near the Locomotive is a fairly large tableau of trees – the Winter Spirit committee has decorated Locomotive park for at least the last 20 years with literally millions of lights.  The Locomotive is awash with colored lights and the tall tree in the center flickers with dancing lights that match the music being broadcast on speakers.  Kids young and old can dance around on the pad and help make the lights move.  There is a beautiful archway snaking through the park that is a glittering trail that leads the visitor all over the park and its beautiful trees.  Every year volunteers work for several weekends to get the lights up and there is a lovely lighting ceremony during the weekend before Thanksgiving.  The lights stay up through the New Year. 

I still can remember the first year that it was lit.  My nieces and nephews were small children.  They ran through the archways and watched the lights flicker with the movement.  Sometimes the weather was warm and other times quite chilly and snowy.  The adults in the family would walk around enjoying the children’s joy and wonder as well as our own.  We would spend at least an hour walking through the park, no matter how cold it was.  Then when we go out on drives to look at the Christmas lights – we would drive by Locomotive Park and enjoy the beautiful colors.  I don’t know that any of us ever completely outgrow looking at pretty twinkling lights.
My Niece & Nephew enjoying the lights!
Several years ago, my sister-in-law and brother were visiting from out of town.  They had moved north several years before but one thing they wanted to do during that Thanksgiving weekend visit was go and look at the Christmas lights.  We enjoyed looking at the new Fireplace with the tiles that had been painted by local schoolchildren and reacquainted ourselves with all of the new displays that had been done.  My teenage niece and nephew ran around and played like children.  I still remember my brother saying that he wished that these lights had been around when he was in high school – it would have made for a cheap date.

If you are interested in looking at some of the photos or wish to look at more information check out their website at http://www.winterspirit.com/ .  There is even an opportunity to donate to the cause as this is a volunteer operation.

Through the arch!

Some of the lights of Winter Spirit!