The Minot Sertoma Club is back in Oak Park in its 25th year conducting its annual Sertoma Christmas in the Park fundraiser. It begins tonight, November 25, and lasts through December 31, Fridays and Saturdays, 5:30pm-10:30pm, and Thursdays through Sundays, 5:30pm-10:00pm. It costs five dollars per car.
For 25 years, Sertoma has received much help from club members and the Minot Parks Department, along with tremendous support from the community that enjoys the light show at Oak Park. The four gentlemen who have been the constant builders of the displays over the past 25 years are Lon Drevecky, David Gowan, Todd Vangsness and Mark Larson. This crew has been with Minot Sertoma for up to 35 years and shows the lights.
As of November 1, these guys are spending fairly regular hours at Oak Park, fixing and preparing the light displays, changing bulbs, digging in more than 500 posts, doing heavy lifting and connecting everything together, Gowan said. This year they have 60 displays from different companies.
“There would be room for 10 to 15 more stores, and some years we lose a few too.” said Gowan.
“We have three new stores this year and although some displays are in the same places we like to change them up a bit each year. Some displays have animations and sequences and we help the companies with a design and the welding together.” said Gowan.
After 25 years, Gowan said, the old c7 bulbs use 10 times the electricity and aren’t as bright as the LED c7 bulbs, and the LED c7 bulbs don’t go bad like the older bulbs.
“Everything is better, harder. It’s really a good system. We make all our displays to fit nicely through the doors in the warehouse and it takes three people at most to carry some.” he said.
“We’ve streamlined the setup quite a bit, a great format and lots of help. We’ll have fun or we won’t.” said Gowan. “This fundraiser raised $60,000 after expenses last year and that helps us not have to say no when there is a need in the community.”
A portion of the proceeds goes to children’s programs, such as language and listening at Minot State University. Among the many recipients, Minot Sertoma is also responsible for all of the funding for Minot’s T-ball teams.
Gowan said two other Sertoma clubs in North Dakota started a light show a year before Minot.
“That’s how we got the idea – from other clubs – and Oak Park is the best park for it. It’s grown a lot over the years and just keeps getting bigger and better.” he said.
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