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Lights at Kennedy set new records

Holiday displays support worthwhile causes

Going to see Lights at Kennedy has been a holiday tradition for many Fort Dodge area families for almost 20 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 Sertoma Club and the Fort Dodge Young Professionals.

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 2020 edition of Lights at Kennedy turned out to be a record-setter.

More than 4,200 vehicles passed through the display area during the first three weekends of December.

On Dec. 19, a new record for a single evening was set when 740 vehicles went through.

All those visitors resulted in just over $29,000 in donations, which is also a record.

Some of that money will go to Backpack Buddies, which ensures that qualifying children have nutritious food to eat on the weekends. Money generated by the event will also be invested in Veterans Memorial Park near Badger Lake. Some money will be reinvested in the light displays A portion will go to the Fort Dodge Young Professionals to help provide low cost events intended to help gain and retain young professionals in the area.

The 2020 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 4,200 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.

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