With shining lights, holiday music and warm drinks, the Festival of Holiday Lights is a tradition that gets people in the holiday spirit by gathering the Elon community to kick off the holiday season.
Typically, students assemble in front of Alamance Building for an evening of live music, hot chocolate, apple cider, snacks and an appearance from Santa Claus. This year, students will have access to a virtual component including QR codes to help guide them to different stations set up throughout the Academic Village.
Chaplain Jan Fuller said in an email the festival has been moved due to the chance of rain on the original date Nov. 12. The event is now expected to be held on Nov. 17.
The festivities will begin at 6:30 p.m. Luminaries containing small lanterns will be lined throughout campus and lights will decorate the trees on Scott Plaza.
According to Fuller, Festival of Holiday Lights coordinators partnered with various campus organizations and will incorporate spread-out stations focusing on religious holidays and how they celebrate light. The stations will highlight Kwanzaa, secular identities, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Diwali, Muslim life/Spirit and Pride as well as the LGBTQIA communities.
The event will reportedly not host live performances this year to minimize crowding. In years past, a capella and other musical groups across campus performed throughout the night. This year, prerecorded music from the a capella groups going off the theme of enlightenment will be incorporated into the event.
“I am also very happy to report that all of our a capella groups have worked together, under the leadership of Liam O’Connor, to record an album that is scheduled to drop on the 17th,” Fuller said.
Sophomore Caroline DiGrande — an interfaith intern with the Truitt Center — is co-leading the event this year. DiGrande said the community aspect of the event is one of the reasons she got involved with the planning.
“I just thought it was so cool to have such a big event that brought so many community members together,” DiGrande said. “[It’s] a really beautiful time for us to celebrate before we leave for our winter vacation, so I really wanted to be a part of planning.”
Sophomore Katie Norman — an interfaith intern and Festival of Holiday Lights co-leader — said she is looking forward to the event because it will provide a space for students and faculty to unite.
“We want it to be a place where Elon students can kind of take a break from the stress of finals and work and enjoy a little semblance of community,” Norman said. “We just want people to know that, yes, it will still be happening this year, and we are very excited for what will be in store.”