Big Sky Lights begins set-up

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  • Volunteers discuss a plan of action for setting up lights for Lights Under the Big Sky at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Ronan over the weekend. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

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    Clockwise from bottom left are Brianna Ewert, Mary Ann Ewert, Brian Ewert and Carmody Ewert. The family volunteered to help start set up for Lights Under the Big Sky Saturday, starting with testing strings of lights. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

  • Volunteers discuss a plan of action for setting up lights for Lights Under the Big Sky at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Ronan over the weekend. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

  • 1

    Clockwise from bottom left are Brianna Ewert, Mary Ann Ewert, Brian Ewert and Carmody Ewert. The family volunteered to help start set up for Lights Under the Big Sky Saturday, starting with testing strings of lights. (Ashley Fox/Lake County Leader)

It may not be Halloween yet, but the holiday season is already on one group’s radar.

Volunteers took advantage of the warm weather Saturday as they helped string lights and displays at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Ronan for the Lights Under the Big Sky.

Sjann Vincent, an organizer of the event, said that setup will take weeks for the Dec. 7-8 opening weekend.

Lining the buildings on the fairgrounds were priority on Saturday.

Last year, volunteers put lights and decorations in storage with an organized system so that this year, others could test the lights and get to work.

A steering committee was established which conducted surveys to organize data for a feasability study.

RESEARCH FOR the study begame in December 2016, and was presented to Lake County Commissioners.

The display, which will be open in the evenings on Dec. 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, is an attraction to bring people to the Mission Valley as a whole.

“Our goal is to have surrounding communities create and afternoon event that would draw people to their town,” Vincent said.

This year, organizers are looking for volunteers to help with tickets, as well as Santa’s Helper and mostly to set up lights.

“Anyone artistic is invited to help with vignettes,” Vincent said, adding that between Polson and St. Ignatius, nutcrackers are being made to help guide visitors to the display.

Each weekend, kids’ crafts and games will be offered, along with hot chocolate and a market in the community center.

Branching out this year, Vincent said that the nonprofit is co-oping with Mission Valley Live for a performance at the Ronan Middle School Performing Arts Center on Dec. 7.

The Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation and Lake County will help by recreating Santa’s Workshop during the season, too, Vincent said.

Gifts will be gathered and kids will be able to choose one, which they can wrap with the help of staff, but they have to then re-gift it.

Organizers with the nonprofit are still working out scheduling, Vincent said.

For instance, this year Polson will kick off the holiday season with its Parade of Lights on Nov. 30, while Lights Under the Big Sky will host its own celebration on Dec. 21.

“The longer we go, the better we’ll get at this,” Vincent said.

Vincent said that to help families plan out their day in the Mission Valley, they can let Lights Under the Big Sky know when their events are and she will post those events on social media.

For those interested in discussing scheduling with Vincent, she can be reached by phone at 406-396-0807 or 406-644-2863.

More information about Lights Under the Big Sky can be found by visiting bigskylights.org or visiting www.facebook.com/MVLightsUnderTheBigSky/

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