Record Turnout for Grand Illumination Lighting Ceremony

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The Grand Illumination lighting ceremony drew more than 15,000 people to Bicentennial Park and the downtown riverfront on Friday, December 4. As holiday music from the Columbus Children’s Choir and the SupaFun Band filled the air, thousands of happy children were greeted by BalletMet’s Clara and the Nutcracker and created festive crafts with Girl Scout Cadette Troop 2150 and OSU Urban Arts Space. Meanwhile, Mad River Mountain and HERO USA offered attendees a chance to win a Burton Snowboard, a helmet, snow gear, or tickets to Mad River Mountain for the upcoming ski, snowboard and tubing season.

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Amid the merriment, POINT provided important lessons about the struggles of being homeless during the winter season. During the course of the evening, the Empty Bowls project raised more than $4,300 for the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. Special thanks to Milestone 229 for their generous contribution of chicken and dumplings soup, the volunteers from the Downtown Residents Association of Columbus, and Cheryl’s for donating their famous cookies. The record-breaking amount raised this year will help fill a lot of “Empty Bowls.”

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In keeping with the city’s green initiatives, all seasonal decorations feature energy efficient LED lighting, including more than 250,000 LED lights on 150 trees. The Scioto Mile Fountain presented by the American Electric Power Foundation comes alive for the holiday season with festive video projections and illuminated spheres suspended from each of the five fountain halos. New this year, programmable LED lights have been installed in the steps of the Riverfront Amphitheater in Genoa Park just outside COSI. During the holiday season, this new lighting display will feature three brightly-colored holiday packages. The lights twinkle in Bicentennial Park and along the Scioto Mile until January 10, 2016.

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Special thanks to our media partners, ABC 6 / Fox 28 and Sunny95 (94.7), for their great event promos and coverage. Grand Illumination is presented by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and made possible through the support of the Scioto Mile Endowment Fund: Columbus Downtown Development Corporation.

Watch the live coverage from ABC 6 here: