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Lights on the River looks to expand this winter

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LISBON - With more than three months before Lights on the River 2013 kicks off, organizers are already planning on expanding this year’s display.

Last year saw 75 families, community groups and businesses set up holiday light displays at Lisbon Beach and Campground. The 2012 Lights on the River display raised roughly $16,200 for community food pantries and collected more than 3,700 pounds of non-perishable food items.

The organization estimates that more than 15,000 people visited the display last year.

Over the last three years of the organization’s existence, Lights on the River has raised more than $32,000 for food pantries.

This year, Lights on the River President Scott A. Wilhelm hopes to take advantage of recent expansions at the campground and get at least 100 displays set up.

“The bigger we can make the event, the more people are going to come to see it,” he said. “It’s free to enter, but hopefully we can collect more donations.”

The event is not only free for visitors to enter, but it’s free for anyone to set up a display, which makes the Lights on the River event a prime time for business advertising, Mr. Wilhelm said.

“We want more families to come out and more organizations to be part of it,” he said.

This year the event will donate to eight local food pantries including the Canton Church and Community Program, Canton Neighborhood Center, Hammond Neighborhood Center, Heuvelton Food Pantry, Lisbon Food Pantry, Norwood-Norfolk-Raymondville Outreach, Ogdensburg Neighborhood Center and the Waddington Family Resource Center.

The town of Lisbon is allowing Lights on the River to set up at the campground free of charge again this year.

“They are an awesome source of support for our event,” Mr. Wilhelm said of the town.

This year Lights on the River will run from Dec. 14 through 22 from 5 to 9 p.m. each day.

Anyone looking to set up a display should contact Mr. Wilhelm at 854-2657, Amy Fortin at 528-5660 or Stephanie Wilhelm at 393-1796. More information can be found online at www.LightsOnTheRiver.org.

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