The Minot Sertoma Club will bring light once again to Oak Park in Minot through its display of Christmas-themed lights for the community to enjoy.
Sertoma, which is short for "service to mankind," recently celebrated 100 years as a service club, with Minot's club having been around for 52 years, with one charter member still involved.
The Christmas lights will be on display starting on the Friday, Nov. 23, and lasting through Dec. 31, from 6 to 10 every evening.
On Saturday morning, members of the Minot Sertoma Club gathered to help set up the light displays in Minot’s Oak Park. Members ate breakfast together at Perkins Restaurant & Bakery at 7 a.m., and afterward started setting up displays.
The cost for viewing Christmas in the Park is $5 per car with a rate for limos and buses. Limos often drive people through the displays as a promotional item, said Neil Scharpe, Minot Sertoma Club secretary.
The number of light displays are still being lined up because of the 2011 flood, Scharpe said. The displays are stored in the garage at Oak Park. During the flood, however, Sertoma club members were busy moving things out of their own houses and had to redo a number of the displays along with above-ground wiring, he said.
The Minot Sertoma Club has 50 to 55 displays, but there are other businesses that put up displays, Scharpe said.
Sertoma club members spent Saturday morning setting up the displays, Scharpe said. They enjoy breakfast at Perkins Restaurant & Bakery at 7 a.m. and at 8:15 a.m. began setting up the displays in the park. They do the same thing on New Year's Day with tearing down the light displays.
"The fun part is that it takes 25 to 30 Sertomans to set up the displays," Scharpe remarked. "We're hoping a majority of the displays are set up by noon on Saturday (Nov. 17)."
The idea for the Christmas light show was a Sertoma Club idea, Scharpe said. The event started in Bismarck at its Sertoma Park, then Jamestown picked up the idea, and Minot jumped in 13 years ago and expanded on Bismarck's display, he continued.
"It's not only a great fundraiser, but also a good community event," Scharpe said. "It's just a nice gift back to the community an d the community is donating money that we put back into the community."
There isn't much difference with the light displays this year from the 2010 season. There wasn't a display last year because of the flood.
There also won't be any differences since the park was just rewired, he added. But there will be new designs with the lights next year.
He said they are grateful to the Minot Park District and Quentin N. Burdick Job Corps Center in Minot for their help with the project.
It always works better for setting up the light displays when there is no snow around, Scharpe said, but the worst is pulling cement blocks out of the ground that are frozen and snowy. Overall, though, the job is not overly difficult, he added.
The display with the flipping gingerbread man is currently sitting in Scharpe's office and needs to be redone. "It will probably take all next week to get things squared away," he said.
As of this year, there are no thoughts to expand the display project or have another one at Roosevelt Park but Oak Park works much better, Scharpe said. "But we will always continue to add displays. It will always be new and different, but this year we're back."
Scharpe said he hopes people will look at the light displays and enjoy themselves. "It's a $5 donation and Sertoma is all about speech and hearing disorders. The money goes right back to the City of Minot. Oak Park looks wonderful and hopefully, Christmas in the Park will accentuate that."