Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lighting Up the Channel



BY KATIE MCFADDEN

17 NOVEMBER 2016


Christmas cheer will once again come to Broad Channel. With the 5th Annual Broad Channel Christmas Lights Drive underway, the lighted holiday garlands are set to brighten Cross Bay Boulevard later this month. On Friday, November 18, those who helped to make this tradition possible will have a chance to receive a gift of their own in a $5,000 giveaway. 

For the fifth year in a row, Stephanie Wagner is helping to bring holiday lights to Broad Channel. The annual tradition started after Hurricane Sandy. “I was raising money after the storm to help out residents and someone suggested we decorate the town a little bit because it was so depressing. We reached out to different companies and partnered with PC Richards, which donated gift cards, so we were able to have a Christmas party in the town and raffle off the gift cards and we used the rest of the money to put our lights up. Now this has become a tradition,” Wagner said. “In light of all that our little town has been through, I like to remember this as one good thing that came from a disastrous time. Now, these lights serve as a reminder of all that we are capable of. We are a small town, but we are a mighty one.”
For the past few weeks, Wagner, with the help of other locals, has been selling $50 raffle tickets to raise money for the lights. Over the past four years, every ticket has sold out and as we go to press, Wagner says they pulled it off again, with all 400 tickets officially sold out. The winners will be chosen at 8 p.m. on Friday at the Bungalow Bar.
The first place winner gets a whopping $5,000, but there are plenty of prizes for runner-ups. Second place gets $1,000, third and fourth place gets $500, fifth gets $250 and five others will win a $100 prize each. Santa’s little helpers also get a gift. The person who sold the grand prize ticket gets $500. While the main giveaway tickets are sold out, a chance at the Mega 50/50 can be purchased for $10 at www.bclights16.eventbrite.com.
Winners do not need to be present at Friday’s event, but it’s going to be a fun time for those who attend. The event, which is open to the public, will feature drink specials, a 50/50, and music by DJ Paddy Tubz of DJs@Work, who is donating his time to the cause.
Wagner spearheads the fundraiser, but calls it a community effort. “We’re a part of this great community that works together. I like that the town raises the money on our own because there are other towns that get them and have companies that donate them, but like most things in Broad Channel, we take things into our own hands,” she said. The community’s efforts will come to light after Friday’s event. The light company, Illuminations by Arnold, is expected to install the decorations sometime around Thanksgiving weekend and they will remain hanging until mid-January.
The Broad Channel Christmas Lights are a tradition that will live on for many years to come. “Hopefully we continue the tradition, but with all of the support we get, it makes it easier to do it every year,” Wagner said.

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