MOUNT GILEAD — “Light Up Camp,” Flying Horse Farms’ seasonal drive-through light display, started out as a simple idea only a few months ago.

Now three weeks in, the event has hosted nearly 2,000 cars, and even a few buses from area assisted living facilities.

For FHF and the sponsors who supported the effort, this is exactly what they had hoped for — something to help bring light, hope, and holiday cheer to the community.

“An annual community lights display is a great way to bring us together during the season. We hope visitors feel a sense of joy and peacefulness during this time where many are struggling to maintain some semblance of normalcy,” said Nikki Vanderkooi, Digital Media and Marketing Specialist for Consolidated Cooperative, long-time Flying Horse Farms supporter and lead sponsor of Light Up Camp.

Encouraged by long lines and enthusiastic visitors, both FHF and its sponsors are expecting this to be the first of many Light Up Camp events.

“As soon as Flying Horse Farms came to me with the Light up Camp idea, our family wanted to help make it happen,” said Rockwell Bonecutter, area supporter. “Flying Horse Farms and Morrow County citizens, along with several businesses, worked together to create something unique that I hope becomes a tradition for years to come.”

Local volunteers have also played a large role in keeping the lights on throughout the event.

FHF’s “Over the Hill Gang,” a group of local retirees who regularly volunteer at camp, installed some of the smaller light displays. Snuggled in Hope Quilts, a nonprofit organization that makes quilts for FHF campers, donated 17 quilts for a nightly raffle and has helped manage traffic at the event.

Other volunteers have included National Honor Society students from Mount Gilead High School and more than 20 members of the Morrow County Fair Board who greeted and guided cars through camp.

“We’re grateful to the many local partners and volunteers who have supported Light Up Camp,” said Nichole E. Dunn, FHF President and CEO. “It’s been exciting to welcome so many of our neighbors to camp. Through their support, we know we can build upon this year’s display and create a winter destination in Morrow County the community can be proud of.”

Community supporters already recognize there is much to be proud of this year.

“Light Up Camp shows how resilient our community is during this most challenging year,” said Bonecutter. “We came together to create a spectacular event for kids and our families to experience in a safe and controlled setting while still bringing the magic of the season with this dazzling light show.”

Light Up Camp continues each weekend through Dec. 27, including Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Fridays/Saturdays: 6 – 10 p.m., last car admitted at 9:30 p.m.

Sundays: 6 – 8:30 p.m., last car admitted at 8 p.m.

Admission is free with an opportunity to make a suggested donation to Flying Horse Farms.

Staff Report