lights-on-the-river.JPGLisbon, N.Y. - What started as a small idea, has grown into county-wide holiday tradition.  On Saturday December, 14th Lights on the River will open for its fourth year at Lisbon Beach and Campground along the beautiful St. Lawrence River. In four years Lights on the River has more than tripled the number of participants and contributed over $32,000 and thousands of pounds of food to local food pantries throughout St Lawrence County. "We never thought it would get this big," said Scott Wilhelm, one of six founders of the non-profit event. "Basically six friends got together at our kitchen table with an idea to come up with something similar to Lights on the Lake and it has just grew from there." Mr. Wilhelm said the group had about 25 displays in 2010. In 2011 the group doubled that number.  And in 2012 they grew it to 75 displays. This year, Wilhelm said 85 exhibits will light the recently expanded town-owned campground.  "With the expansion that the campground underwent with the newly powered sites, this year we can double the amount of land we use for displays." Wilhelm estimated 4,000 cars passed through the gate last year, many of them full of passengers. There were also buses, passenger vans & even a wagon ride full of cheery visitors.  He expects an even better turnout this year, based on past experiences. "We think the bigger we make it, the more people that are going to come which in turn helps us to aid more food pantries." he said. "Especially with the 3 new food pantries this year, and the communities they serve, we hope to see more people come from those areas and see what our event is all about." The community choice awards will once again be given and the top displays in the business, non-profit & family categories will win $50 each for their efforts.  Voting will be done via ballots at the entrance to Lights on the River.  Ballots will be included in the programs, and you can turn the ballot in as you leave.  In addition to those awards, the organizers will be adding in a new contest for the children who visit.  There is a lost doll that we need help finding.  Her name is Susie Q the rag doll, and she is hiding in one of the displays at Lights on the River.  For children 12 & under, if you find her you can put your name in the drawing for a prize.  At the end of the event, one of the children who find Susie Q & submitted their names, will be randomly drawn & awarded a prize! There is no charge to visit Lights on The River.  Donations of non perishable goods or money are accepted at the gate. Wilhelm said there is no recommended amount and all donations stay in St. Lawrence County. Over the years Wilhelm said organizers have learned a lot. He said they have worked with local media to promote the event, sought help from members of community and civic groups for support and developed relationship with local businesses.  Lights on the River is located at Lisbon Beach and Campground, Route 37. The displays will be lit from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 14 through Dec. 22. Lights on the River organizers are Scott and Stephanie Wilhelm, Amy Fortin, Dicky Marcellus, Jeff & Rebecca Buckingham, Robert McNeil, Dave Smith, Hank Wilhelm, Jackie Sovie, and Mike McDonnell.


Contact: Scott Wilhelm Lights on the River, Inc.  315.854.2657