Volunteers light up our lives | My Kingston Life

Tenacious golden leaves cling to the deciduous trees, a lovely contrast to the mix of evergreens that surround me. The autumn sun ignites them like a fire and I cling to that vision because winter is in the wings.

Fortunately, there are other lights soon to be ignited that will entrance us … those that are now being readied for Kingston’s fantastical, holiday lights extravaganza.

“Many hands make light work” was my mother’s motto when we all had to pitch in and clean the house. Many helping hands were also evident this morning when I visited the busy elves in the Port of Kingston’s workshop. They were tying on colored strings of lights to flesh out the metal sculptures that port employee Steve Von Manenholtz has created.

There was a lot of chitchat and laughter while the volunteers brought Steve’s creations to life. Jan Richards said, “It’s like a quilting bee, but with lights!”

New displays being worked on include: a dragon, a monarch butterfly, an elf house, floral sprays and a cuddly bear. They will join the cadre of characters from seasons past, who are in hibernation until it is time to charm visitors. That slumber will end at 5 p.m. Dec. 3 in the Port of Kingston at the lighting ceremony.

After lending a hand to the task of affixing lights for a short while, my original admiration for these volunteers soared. It’s a simple yet tedious task that has to be done properly to give the right effect. As you walk around the port admiring these delightful creations, think of the generous volunteers whose nimble fingers worked hard to bring that smile of enchantment to your face.

Ray Carpenter of the port is the proud ringleader of this rather happy crew of light workers that I met. He sets up their schedule and secures needed materials. He also installs the displays and maintains the electrical components.

Volunteer Hollace Vaughan is the only volunteer from the original group who put together the first Christmas light show in 2006. Hollace said their inspiration came from the Bellevue botanical light display. She is the keeper of the keys when it comes to knowing how best to secure the lights, and she was quite patient with me as I tried to learn the trade.

Be ready to be amazed by 500 fanciful sculptures and floral depictions, enlivened with nearly 500,000 colored lights! All brought to you by our Kingston volunteers and a port that cares.

— Judith Ryan is a writer and phtographer. Contact her through her at judith@kingston.life.