Festival of Lights opens to raise money for capital city nonprofits
JEFFERSON CITY - Singing pine trees and dancing blue penguins are now lighting up the night throughout Binder Park in Jefferson City for the third annual Capital City Festival of Lights.
Stretching about a mile between Rainbow Drive and Henwick Lane, the festival features thousands of lights synchronized to holiday music. All proceeds made go directly back to local nonprofits, including the sponsor, Homemaker Health Care.
Homemaker Health Care is a nonprofit partner agency with United Way based in central Missouri. The group loans medical equipment like hospital beds, wheelchairs and shower benches to individuals struggling to live independently at no cost.
Event organizer Jeff Buker said some proceeds made this year will be used to replace equipment damaged in the May tornado.
“We did have equipment in some of the homes that were destroyed and one of the items was a lift chair,” Buker said. “We don’t have many of those — they are expensive — and we did end up losing one of those this year, and this will help replace the items we need that we have a waiting list for.”
Buker said the festival raises approximately $50,000 each year and about half of those proceeds go back into the festival for the next year. Hoping to create a unique fundraising opportunity, Buker created the event three years ago. Now, he said he’s “in it for the long run.”
“One of the criteria we were looking for in a fundraiser was something unique that would be inclusive to everybody,” Buker said. “We’re trying to make it a family tradition.”
The festival began Saturday and is open now until Dec. 31, excluding Mondays. The cost is $20 per car.