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South Jordan Journal

Light the Night

Dec 01, 2017 08:00AM ● By Keyra Kristoffersen

Incredible detail goes into each candy sculpture, and nearly every type of candy is available for use. (Tina Brown)

On Friday, Dec. 1, South Jordan is kicking off the Christmas season celebrations with the annual Light the Night on Towne Center Drive. 

“There’s really lot of things to do,” said Tina Brown, the city’s public information officer, who anticipates more than 150 guests at the event.

Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. where residents and spectators can gather on Towne Center Drive to participate in the countdown to the lighting of city streets and the 30-foot Christmas tree. The tree is set up right outside of South Jordan City Hall, and Mayor Dave Alvord is expected to attend, as it is his last year running the countdown. 

“It’s beautiful, and people really love that display,” said Brown, who will be spending her fourth year helping out with the decade-long Light the Night event this year.

Along with the tree-lighting, hot cocoa and cookies will be provided, along with discounts from the surrounding merchants on food and massages. 

As soon as the lights go on, Santa Claus will also make a special appearance on a fire truck, escorted by local South Jordan firefighters to the Santa Shack set up in front of City Hall. Santa will be available to take Christmas present orders from children that night as well as every Friday and Saturday night through Dec. 16. 

The culmination of the annual Gingerbread House contest will also be announced that night with winners awarded first- and second-place prizes for People’s Choice, Child 8 and under, Youth aged 9–12, Teen aged 13–17, Adult aged 18-–4, Senior aged 55 and up and the newest category this year, Santa’s Choice.

The Gingerbread House contest began in November with a Gingerbread 101 class that taught the ins and outs of creative cookie house construction. With that basic training, South Jordan residents were invited to submit their gingerbread creations as individuals and groups by Nov. 17 for display and voting to Arts at the Gale until the evening of Light the Night. 

The Cookies with Santa party also allowed the public and artists to rub elbows with the Man in Red himself while he perused the 20 to 30 entries.  

Another popular display are the candy window displays that will be in in some of the store windows along Towne Center Drive. Based on the old ZCMI windows displays in downtown Salt Lake, local artists create candy sculptures to set up for all to see. Typically, the displays are created with 10 artists working within a theme. This year, Classic Christmas and the city provides the candy for the sculpture, and the artists provide the many hours of work. The candy sculptures will be on display through the entire month of December.

“They work on these for a long time; they’re incredible and really detailed,” Brown said. “We’ve seen everything used. I think the best part of Light the Night is our Candy Window Displays.”

One activity that will be missing from previous years is the ice skating rink that normally occupies the space next to the South Jordan Library; however, due to construction and lack of suitable space this year, there will be no rink. 

Brown said not to worry, however, because there are more than enough sights and activities, such as crafts at the library, to keep the whole family occupied and delighted through the night. She also said plans are underway to find a new home for the ice-skating rink that will work better in the future. 

All the activities are free and open to the public.

“We encourage everyone to come down and enjoy the festivities,” Brown said. “It is a lot of fun. It’s amazing some of the things that our events people plan.”