The mission of Light Up Middletown is to raise funds to make improvement to Middletown City Parks and to present a first-class holiday event that will draw guests not only from the immediate area but from a wider region. By working with other local holiday event planners and light displays, Light Up Middletown hopes to make Middletown a hub of holiday activity.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Founder/President Emeritus - Florella Randall
Chair Pro-Tem - Ann Mort
Vice Chair - Larry Blitz
Secretary - Cheryl Landen
Treasurer – Tim Pruett Site Manager – Barney Strassburger Santa Advisor – Bill Becker Collections - Ed DeBrozsi AK Steel Volunteer - Josh Laubach
The Grandpa Gang
Our valued volunteers are the backbone of the organization. The Grandpa Gang is a group of mostly-retired gentlemen who work tirelessly to erect, maintain, take down and store the numerous displays. They begin in mid-October putting displays around Smith Park. Throughout the season, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, The Grandpas take turns turning on the lights before 6 pm and turning them off at 10 pm, every single night, regardless of the weather. If a display is not lighting properly, they take it personally and stay with the “sick child” until all is well again. Beginning on New Year’s Day, they remove all the displays, make repairs and stow them away for the next season.
Several non-profit organizations provide greeters at the gate. They welcome each vehicle driver and ask where they are from and how many people are in the car. Each driver is also given a list of other activities in the area and coupons from local businesses.
Not only Santa and Mrs Claus appear, but occasionally, other costumed characters show up to entertain the guests.
Light Up Middletown is one of the very few such operations that does not charge an admission to the displays. The operation runs entirely on donations from those who enjoy the lights. Many times, others help sponsor the operation – Middletown Community Foundation, Middletown CVB, The Thatcher Family and others have made donations to help build the storage barn and cover publicity costs.
From each year’s income, decisions are made to purchase new displays, make a donation to the City of Middletown for Park improvements, etc. In past years, a new piece of exercise equipment was added to Smith Park and additional electrical service has been added which is used for LUM but also by other events in the park.