Residents bring the light of Christmas spirit to Jamestown
Holiday Dazzle Drive By Neighborhood Christmas Parade helps encourage holiday joy..
The Holiday Dazzle Parade has been an annual event in Jamestown for 16 years, held on the Friday after Thanksgiving to kick off the Christmas season. But this year it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Lynn Lambrecht, president of the Jamestown Downtown Association, which sponsors the parade, said people were saying to her, “This is just one more thing that COVID takes away from us.”
So the Jamestown Downtown Association quickly came up with a new plan.
“There was a lot of disappointment in the community about not being able to have this (parade) celebration,” Lambrecht said. “It has gotten to the point where this is a tradition, this is kind of one of the things people do in Jamestown. And so we wanted to have some kind of a community event that they could still look to to kind of brighten up everybody’s holiday spirit.”
That’s when the Jamestown Downtown Association decided to offer the Holiday Dazzle Drive By Neighborhood Christmas Parade. People could enter their commercial and residential address to be part of the “parade,” and potentially win a cash prize in what was later named the first Holiday Dazzle Lighting Contest that would have normally been awarded to floats participating in the Holiday Dazzle Parade.
The group was hoping the alternative event could also be an activity for families to drive around and explore the community together during the holidays. People could take in the lighted tour when it worked for their schedule.
The event garnered 82 entries, Lambrecht said. The winners of the lighting contest were selected by the public casting 317 votes at newsdakota.com. They were Robert and Sephra Puffe, 723 5th Ave. SE, first ($250 from the Jamestown Downtown Association); Travis Yunck, 1013 16 1/2 St. NE, second ($100 prize plus a $25 Cash Wise gift card), and Larry and Jenny Korynta, 824 6th Ave. SE, third ($50 plus a $25 Cash Wise gift card).
While anyone can drive around the city and look at Christmas lights, a map and list of addresses of participants in the parade are available on jamestowndowntown.org at least through Jan. 1. Lambrecht said the list is not as user friendly as she’d like but noted it was something the group had to come up with quickly after demand for the list came as early as Thanksgiving.
“I had so many people asking for the map on Thanksgiving Day already that I just put one together as fast as I can and got it on the (Jamestown) Downtown (Association) page,” she said.
Brock Romine and his family are new to Jamestown and are among those who participated in the parade. The Romines have blue and white icicle lights outside their residence, along with garland, wreaths, a Snoopy on his doghouse and other decorations.
“My wife and I, we’ve got a 2-year-old little boy and one thing that we like to do as a family is to go around and look at Christmas lights,” he said on why they took part. “ And so, for us, we thought it was a fun way to participate in something that’s unusual in the community because of COVID. It’s just a fun thing to do as a family and it’s a neat thing, I think for Jamestown, on how they can adapt to some of the adverse things we’re going through right now and still kind of enjoy Christmas and spread a little Christmas spirit through the community.”
Romine said the family moved to Jamestown from Williston, which has lights in the park that people can drive through and view.
“It is almost kind of like that (in Jamestown) - except you’re using the whole town as your park,” Romine said. “A little different but I think something that’s fun and unique to Jamestown.”
The Holiday Dazzle Parade will return, Lambrecht said.
“We definitely want to bring the holiday parade back, obviously we’re not trying to replace the holiday parade permanently at all,” she said of this year's neighborhood Christmas parade.
But she believes there could also be a place for the Holiday Dazzle Drive By Neighborhood Christmas Parade (Holiday Dazzle Lighting Contest) in the future. Lambrecht, who is also the general manager for i3G Media, said i3G Media plans to continue the event next year with potential improvements such as a charity Santa run and reflective numbers for entries' yards.