Park lights up with holiday spirit

By Spencer Drake

Driving around in the car with friends and family has become a Christmas tradition for many families in and around Lincoln Parish. Lighting Up the Pines, an annual event held at Lincoln Parish Park, provided a drive-thru Christmas light show that all members of the family could enjoy, as well as unifying the community.

“Lincoln Lighting Up the Pines is distinct due to its multi-organizational structure. The event seeks to unite the parish’s businesses, organizations, religious groups, schools and community members,” said park employee Andrew Pabon.

The light show includes lit up trees, decorated campers, and many local businesses showcasing their Christmas spirit. The participation of the local businesses is essential to the success of the show. 

“Not only do they help us build the overall beauty of the light show, but the light show gives them a chance to gain some recognition for how much they contribute to the Ruston community,” said gatehouse supervisor Rosemary Pilgreen. 

The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce partners with the Lincoln Lighting Up the Pines to organize and execute the light show over the past eight years, with the first show being held in 2015. This year their goal was to attract 2,000 cars to come through the light show. 

Between gathering businesses to display, organizing the campers and making sure they are ready for the show and decorating the park, light show committee members like Lynne Gnemi have their plate full getting the park ready for the weekend. 

“Seeing the children’s heads out of the windows, peeking through moonroofs, screaming ‘Merry Christmas’ to everyone in the show, that is what it’s all about,” Gnemi said. “We do this for the kids and the community.”