Giving truth to Memphis youth
By Jasmine Williamson (Douglass High School)
Lights, Lights, Lights…..and Horses. “Starry Nights” has been around for years as many of you may know. The light show was first organized by Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) in 1989 and was held at a local park in Memphis. Unfortunately, however, it all came to a halt in 2000. There was no light show for a whole 8 years! Then came 2009 and the light show was brought back to Shelby Farms a non-profit park in Shelby County, Tennessee.
Shelby Farms uses the park’s natural resources to attract visitors. It is a central location allowing a diversity of people to come and enjoy. The Park offers an array of activities such as: the playground, rivers, bike trails and the seasonal events such as Starry Nights. Starry Nights is located inside Shelby Farms where families can go to get in the holiday spirit and see many different lights put up by the parks very own Rangers, and other fun activities along the road. Many events, such as Starry Nights, keep the park running.
All proceeds from this event go to the daily operations of Shelby Farms. I know many people may wonder how this whole thing is set up. Well, did you know that there are over 2 million LED lights that go on display during the time Starry Nights is running according to Natalie Wilson, the event manager? Could you imagine the light bill that comes along with that? Luckily there are sponsors such as O’Ryan Federal Credit Union that contribute to the cost of the event. They are one of the many sponsors who help make this show a huge success and keep the suspense going for visitors.
Memphis’ own Tennessee College of Applied Technology help build these lights. Haizlet Studios help design the lights for people to enjoy. Now, one might ask what makes this show different from Zoo Lights, which is also a seasonal light show. Starry Nights has been a Memphis tradition and it is the BIGGEST light show in Memphis. Not only is it the biggest light show but it also offers different attractions such as the Carriage Rides, Mistletoe Village, a photo with Santa($22), local shopping, a petting Zoo($3), and even camel rides($5).
For those that love s’mores this is also the place for you! There is also a campfire to gather around and get cozy with family or a loved one. There is always something new every year like this year there were 14 displays featuring Iconic places such as St. Jude, Memphis Tigers, and Memphis Grizzlies. This is the newest edition to the family and it was ensured to be a hit because Memphians take pride in all of these places/Teams. A lot goes into the production of these lights. Thanks to sponsors, prices remain low and great but they don’t cover half the expenses it takes to do this show every year. Starry Nights was $20 for cars $50 for large vans/limos $150 for charter busses. There were also certain discounts to receive on designated nights such as Holiday Sweater Night and Scout Night which both offered $5 off your original payments.
So they also try to work with people on prices. Although you may not have had a chance to get to Starry nights in 2014, there is no excuse for not going this year as you have a whole year to plan ahead. Be proud of Memphis and what it has to offer when we all get together!