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Lights at Kennedy set new records in 2019

Holiday displays support Backpack Buddies

Going to see Lights at Kennedy has been a holiday tradition for many Fort Dodge area families for several years.

Each Christmas season, businesses and civic groups have assembled colorful displays full of lights and other decorations in a section of John F. Kennedy Memorial Park north of Fort Dodge. To see these displays, people drive through the park and make a donation to Backpack Buddies, which provides food items to school children to ensure that they have someting nutritious to eat over the weekends.

The effort is organized by the Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma Club, with help from the Fort Dodge Young Professionals and Iowa Central Community College.

The display has grown every year. The 2019 edition of Lights at Kennedy turned out to be a record-setter.

More than 2,800 vehicles passed through the display area between Dec. 6 and Dec. 22.

On Dec. 22, a record was set when 505 vehicles went through. At one point, vehicles filled the park road all the way to Webster County road P56.

During the month, all those visitors resulted in net donations of about $10,000, which is also a record.

Most of that money will go to Backpack Buddies. Some money will be reinvested in the displays and a portion will go to the Fort Dodge Young Professionals to support that group’s programs.

The 2019 success of Lights at Kennedy was incredible.

There are many people to thank for that success.

First, we’d like to thank the volunteers of the Fort Dodge Noon Sertoma Club and the Fort Dodge Young Professionals whose organizing efforts made the whole thing possible.

We also thank the volunteers from civic groups and businesses who spent time at the park stringing up lights and doing all the other chores needed to create the displays.

Then there are the people who came to the park in those roughly 2,800 vehicles. They had a good time, saw some neat Christmas displays and contributed to a worthy cause. While gazing at the lights they might not have known that they were part of an effort to help others. But they were, and we thank them for that.