Las Vegas Sun

September 20, 2017

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Gift of Lights makes changes to go green


Heather Cory

Volunteer Kat Magee replaces rope lighting on a sign that spells “Liberace” during the setup of the Gift of Lights at Sunset Park on Oct. 29. Volunteering for her 8th year, Magee is helping to set up millions of lights and more than 400 holiday displays for the show. To save on energy and breakage, this year the show is converting about 10 percent of the displays to LED lights.

Gift of Lights

From left to right, Dennis Simon, a volunteer, and Jesus Espino, with New Creation Masonry, line an arch with a power cord for the Gift of Lights show at Sunset Park.  Launch slideshow »

Seeing the gift

Gift of Lights holiday light festival at Sunset Park, 2601 E. Sunset Road, runs Nov. 14-Jan. 4. Hours of operation are 5-10 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and holidays, and 5-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays. Admission is $13 per vehicle, a $2 discount given for donations to Goodwill of Southern Nevada. A free community night will be held Nov. 17.

Sunset Park’s bright and festive holiday drive-through tradition is welcoming a couple of changes this year.

For the first time, the Gift of Lights holiday light festival will open its gates to foot traffic.

The special walk-through of the festival will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Nov. 12, two days before the Gift of Lights officially opens to the public.

Held as a fundraiser for the Children’s Heart Foundation, participation in the Light Up the Heart of a Child walk will require a $25 donation if registration is completed online prior to the event and a $30 donation on site the day of the event.

Children 12 and younger are free and pets on leashes are welcome.

Registration may be completed at

Money raised will go to fund the group’s Camp Mend-A-Heart program, scholarships and its family outreach programs.

Walk attendees will be treated to cocoa, Santa Claus and carollers.

Additionally, Foundation Developer Renee Rietgraf said each registered attendee will receive a goodie bag worth more than $100.

The bag includes a ticket to see the “Mac King Comedy Magic Show,” “The Nathan Burton Comedy Magic” show and a ticket to “Defending the Cave Man.”

“These entertainers have been very gracious to open their hearts and donate these tickets to our event,” she said.

Rietgraf said the walk will be a great quality community family event.

“You’re going to get a two-mile stroll through the lights,” she said. “There will be holiday music playing and it will be a great way to kick off the holiday spirit.”

Also new this holiday season, event producers Chris and Brenda Meehan are beginning efforts to make the light displays green — environmentally friendly that is.

Those who choose to kick off the holiday spirit with a car ride during or after the festival’s Nov. 14 opening day can keep a lookout from vehicle windows for light displays brighter than the rest.

Chris Meehan said the plan for this year is to replace 10 percent of the displays with LED lights.

His wife, Brenda, said she expects it to take at least six years to convert the millions of lights and more than 400 displays that make up the festival.

“Our goal is to have it completely LED,” she said. “It will reduce the fuel generators that we need and it will make the event more efficient.”

While the event will continue to evolve over the years, a couple of staples will remain.

As in previous years, the Boy Scouts of America will sell hot cocoa, eggnog and apple cider Thursdays through Sundays and the event will feature visits from Santa Claus, Rudolph and Frosty.

Ashley Livingston can be reached at 990-8925 or [email protected].

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