Hobart is one of the most festive cities around the Region, and the city is well known for the countless events and activities that take place at Festival Park each summer. On Friday, the park was filled for a rare winter event, but one that strongly represents everything great about the Hobart Community: Light Up the Park.
Light Up the Park is Hobart’s tree lighting ceremony, but also so much more. Featuring horse-drawn carriage rides, ice sculpting, photos with Santa, and a big bonfire, there was something for every family to enjoy. Despite biting cold and remnants of the last snowfall lingering on the ground, the Hobart community turned out in force, packing the park full of holiday cheer.
“I think it’s great when you look and see seniors out here, grandparents, parents, and kids all bundled up, and they’re all looking for different things to do,” said Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor. “There’s just so much going on that speaks volumes about our community and how much we cherish family gatherings, so I’m extremely excited about it.”
The carriage rides quickly proved popular, with families young and old lining up for a chance to cross the park in a “princess’s carriage,” as one young girl exclaimed. A somewhat more unusual sight was the chorus of singing porta-potties known as “Jingle Johns” that belt out Christmas carols to the beat of a spectacular light show. Events Director Nikki Lopez is always looking for new ways to bring in the crowds to Festival Park.
“It’s grown so much, we try and add something new each and every year,” Lopez said. “But my favorite part is still the lighting of the tree—it’s always fun and it really kicks off the holiday season.”
Of course, no event of this scale is put together single-handedly. Some of Hobart’s younger residents, the high school football team, came out to help keep things running smoothly. One way they helped out was in managing the line for photos with Santa, which were free with a donation to the local food pantry.
“I think all of this is a really good idea just as a way to bring people together,” said Kevin Martin, a junior on the Hobart High School football team. “Plus, we’re also doing a food drive, so it’s just a great activity to have during the holidays.”
Among the attendees were first time Light Up the Park goers Tom Broadaway and his son, Tyson. The two were impressed by the event’s scale and Hobart’s commitment to their community.
“It’s awesome, the lights are cool, and Santa was great,” Broadaway said. “I think this is great for the community, and especially the kids. Plus, it’s all helping a good cause. It’s just an all-around good time.”
Make sure to keep an eye on the Hobart Events Facebook page to stay up to date on all of their events, such as the Holiday Market happening on Sunday, December 9.