by SYDNEY CLIFFORD and THOMAS PUGH
WESTFIELD, Ind. (Dec. 1, 2018) - Students and family members alike gathered in downtown Westfield to explore, shop and converse throughout the annual Westfield in Lights event. From the train rides to the gingerbread houses, this Christmas holiday celebration offers a variety of activities for all ages. For vendor Jenny Kovach, it was a very positive experience.
“Last year was my first year here as a vendor, and it was such a fun night,” Kovach said. “Everybody is so excited and ready for Christmas, and it’s so fun to be here, not only selling this beautiful clothing, but also seeing all the families enjoying the holidays.”
For many families, Westfield in Lights has become a new annual tradition. From singing in their school choir to making gingerbread houses, this event gives children of all ages an opportunity to be involved in the holiday spirit. Elisa Clough, a Westfield mother, described her motivation to return.
“My daughter is a Girl Scout, so we do enjoy the gingerbread houses because she’s participated in that for a few years, so we come out to see those,” Clough said.
Girl Scouts from around Westfield competed for who can create the best gingerbread “house.” This year, the displays ranged from recreations of Hogwarts, Disney World, a unicorn sugar mountain and many other creative models. The winners are chosen by judges as well as citizens who cast their vote by making a donation in the Girl Scout troop’s respective jar.
“We looked at the gingerbread houses, and there were a lot of really cool ones in there,” new Westfield resident Nick Nunez said.
The gingerbread houses were a sweet success, but, due to the weather, one of the harder-to-miss attractions was the ice sculpture of Olaf the snowman, from the popular movie Frozen. The activity brought together visitors as they viewed the sculptor create this piece.
“I think it’s pretty neat to see the ice sculpture,” Nunez said. “I think they’re doing Olaf, but it’s fun to stand here and watch whatever it’s turning out to be.”
Community Events Manager Kelley Wells, a member of the Westfield Welcome team, was one of the minds behind this year’s Westfield in Lights. The production of such a large event took a whole year of planning, but she was pleased to see their hard work pay off as families came together on the windy winter Saturday.
“I think that this is one of the events that the community really likes,” Wells said. “It’s one of our long-standing events. A lot of people recognize the name, and they have a lot of memories and traditions attached to it. It’s great for family traditions.”
With the success of Westfield in Lights, some families begin planning for the coming years. Kovach plans to share the experience with her children in the future.
“[My children] have not been yet, but I wanted to bring them,” Kovach said. “They’re just a little too young. I’m sure we’ll bring them sometime. They would love it. They’d love to see Santa, they would love to see the reindeer and get hot chocolate and all those things.”
Pictures with Santa and many other holiday-themed activities, such as a Nativity Scene and Letters to Santa, took place in Christ United Methodist Church. This allowed for Mallory Cooper (10) to volunteer as an elf while children did holiday themed crafts.
“We’ve been dancing and [the children] give such nice hugs,” Cooper said. “They’re so sweet and cute.”
Overall, the event was a big success with high turnout of visitors despite the abnormal weather. The event was best summarized by Hot Box Pizza owner Suzanne Flynn.
“Friendly people, good atmosphere, windy,” Flynn said.