Local resident Ryan Fynn and his wife Amanda are shedding some light on where to find Christmas displays in Drayton Valley.
Their website, www.draytonvalleychristmaslights.com, has a map of residents that have put up some Christmas lights and decorated their homes for the holidays.
Fynn says the project originally began when he was the president of the Chamber of Commerce in 2020. The Covid restrictions had made planning for the regular Christmas parade tricky, and this was the solution he pitched to the group.
“We actually did it with businesses in town and it was only one night,” says Fynn.
The Chamber wasn’t reinventing the wheel with the project, many other communities also provide a similar map for their communities. Fynn says Edmonton has a map that covers many of the smaller cities surrounding it as well.
Once his role as the president was done, Fynn says the Chamber continued to get calls about the program, but they decided not to continue with it. But Fynn and his wife weren’t ready to let it go.
“So we just said, ‘Fine, we’ll do it,’” he says.
The couple are running the site out of their own pocket, having purchased the rights to the domain. They don’t belong to any organizations and are just doing it because they love seeing the lights.
“The first couple of years we’ve had some companies donate gift cards. Last year we did a prize ourselves, but this year we’re just focusing on the light display,” he says.
The program works on a registration basis. Those who want to show off their displays and are okay with having their address added to the map just have to register on the website.
Fynn says it was very important for them to ensure people had to register for the program. He said he doesn’t want homes being added to the map unless they are comfortable with their information being released. Because of this, he and his wife do not intend to door knock or add addresses unless the resident initiates the contact.
Since the site’s launch on November 17, Fynn says there have been more than 350 views.As of the deadline for the article, there were 20 houses registered on the map. But Fynn says residents can expect that number to increase significantly come December.
He says there are no requirements to participate. Residents are welcome to share their displays regardless of how many lights and decorations there are.
“If people are going to put their lights on here, then obviously they think they’re great and that’s what we’re looking for,” he says.
Part of the motivation for this project comes from the enjoyment his children have looking at the lights each year. He says his kids have a keen eye and can point out when a new house has been decorated.
“Now it’s to the point that we’ll be going to the grocery store and my oldest will say, ‘Dad, there’s new lights,’” says Fynn. “He knows where all the lights are in town.
He and his wife wanted to continue providing an easy way to navigate many of the lights in the community.
“Some people drive in from out of town and aren’t sure where to even go,” he says.
One of the Fynn family’s pastimes is to pack everyone up after dinner and go look at the lights. He says it’s low cost, gets everyone out of the house, and they all really enjoy it.
Anyone looking for more information can visit their website or join their group on Facebook.
By Amanda Jeffery, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Nov 30, 2023 at 11:51