Despite weather, Franklin Festival of Lights opens to rave reviews
Nolan Strauss, 14 months old, son of Steve and Jen Strauss of Franklin Township, enjoys two traditional Christmas favorites - the candy cane and Santa Claus. It was his first experience with santa.
Franklin Township's Festival of Lights opened amid light rain and wind Friday evening, but that didn't keep families from enjoying the holiday spectacular at the Phifer Ice Dam Park.
The walkways throughout the park are outlined in blue LED lights and despite the rain, visitors soaked in the glowing displays, warmed up with some hot cocoa at the Christmas Cafe, and visited Santa Claus.
The crowd was lighter than normal for opening night due to the weather, but that was of little concern to the small children who sat on Santa's lap for the first time.
"There are a lot more people here than I thought would come out," said Joel Christman, a member of the Franklin Township Lions, sponsors of the event.
The visitors took their time winding their way through the pathways and photographing their favorite displays. Approximately 400,000 lights brighten the park. There are deer, Santa, reindeer and fire trucks, Cinderella and Prince Charming, snowflakes, Christmas balls and more.
Steve and Jen Strauss of Franklin Township shared the evening with their three young sons, and David's brother, Joe Strauss, who was home for the holidays from Baltimore, Md.
Jen Strauss said her favorite display was the fire-breathing dragon, while Michele Antiga of Jim Thorpe liked trees outlined in lights the best.
Now in its 10th year, The Franklin Festival of Lights will be open from 5:15 to 9 p.m. on weekends through December. Santa Claus will be available nightly before Christmas with gifts for the little ones.
Proceeds from the festival benefit the local community.