The festival, which was operated for 11 years at Wylie Park, was discontinued because of the amount of volunteer and city labor needed. More than 40 Christmas displays were lit every night for 30 days after Thanksgiving.
"It was the right decision to discontinue the Festival of Lights," said Nate Zeeb, Sertoma Club president.
It was fun while it lasted, but it was time to concentrate on other things, he said.
While thousands of people enjoyed driving through the park to see the lights, the Festival of Lights became very expensive. The city of Aberdeen spent $15,000 to $16,000 a year in employee wages to set up and maintain the displays, said Doug Johnson, director of Aberdeen Parks, Recreation and Forestry in April, when it was announced the festival would stop. On average, the event would bring in about $6,000 a year after expenses, he said.
Zeeb said that the Sertoma Club will be active this holiday season with other activities. In addition to raising money for the Salvation Army, members have put up a Christmas tree at Dacotah Prairie Museum and will deliver poinsettias to patients at Avera St. Luke's Hospital on Christmas Eve. Sertoma's biggest cause is promoting and raising funds for Storybook Land.
Much of the interest for the Festival of Lights can now be be transferred to the Parade of Lights, Zeeb said.
The Aberdeen Downtown Association will sponsor Christmas on Main, which includes the Parade of Lights at 6:45 p.m. Friday. The festivities will start with a snowball drop at 6:15 p.m., followed by a Christmas tree lighting at 6:30 p.m.
"The Parade of Lights has the opportunity to become a great holiday tradition, and we wish them good luck," Zeeb said.