Enormous light festival set to spread yuletide cheer

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Christmas may be weeks away but excitement is building for the Greater Blytheville Chamber of Commerce.

The Lights of the Delta is considered the largest display in the Mid-South and opens one week from today.

This enormous light festival is also a year-long labor of love for site manager Charles Moody.

He put the finishing touches on the last of nearly 50 displays this afternoon.

"We set the stuff up in August and we tear it down by maybe February or March. It takes a while to get it down. Then it takes us the rest of the year working on the displays."

This year's prized possession is "The Man in Black"-- a display dedicated to Arkansas music legend Johnny Cash.

"He did his first radio show here on KLCN local radio station."

It's one that he's made sure to anchor down in case mother nature throws a surprise.

"Weather is a big factor, especially when it's windy. If we don't brace these displays just right and the wind blows from a certain direction, it'll bring it down."

Just a couple miles down the road, crews are working into the night to get the lights up.

Chairman George Hubbard knows the show will electrify the community.

"Outline all of the buildings, we put lights on all the arches, we put lights on all the arches downtown."

The month-long festival offers a huge boost to the local economy.

Hubbard says one hundred businesses sponsor the event that has drawn tourists from 28 states.

"About 20% of our visitors are from actually Mississippi County. The rest come from Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, Western Tennessee."

If you think sorting through a strand of blown Christmas tree lights is exhausting, try testing 6 million of them.

Now that has to be stressful.

"Our big lights, C-7 bulbs, if you lose one, you don't lose any others. It's the mini lights that if you lose one little bulb, you lose fifty."

Lights of the Delta opens Monday, November 25th at 5:30pm and costs $10 per carload.

For more information, including admission prices hours of operation, can be found here.

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