Many people of all ages enjoy the annual Christmas in Williams Park. It has been cancelled this year.

Christmas in Williams Park cancelled

The theft of Christmas lights has led to cancellation of a popular Langley Christmas attraction.

A Grinch determined to steal Christmas has managed to do just that with the cancellation of a Langley holiday tradition that has delighted thousands since 1991.

“The Grinch truly stole Christmas in Williams Park,” said Barb Sharp, president of the Christmas in Williams Park Society.

For the first time in more than two decades, Williams Park will not be decked out in thousands of twinkling lights and fun Christmas displays for all to enjoy, because thieves have made off with more than $10,000 worth of decorations.

This is the second year in a row the event has suffered a loss to thieves, and there is not enough time to come up with the money and manpower required to stage the event this year, said Sharp.

The theft was discovered at the end of October, after the society had started meeting and planning for the 2014 event.

“How do you bounce back from that?” said Sharp. “Our volunteers are thinking ‘Again? We got hit again?’ It really is a disappointment.”

Each year, Williams Park has been adorned with thousands of lights, inflatables, cut outs, and other decorations that transform it into a winter wonderland.

For 22 years, guests were invited to drive through the park over a two-week time period with the event has culminated with two nights of entertainment, horse and carriage rides, refreshments, and a visit from Santa.

Money to hold the annual event comes from donations collected from the public and it is staged through the hard work and efforts of the volunteer-run Society, with support from Township of Langley staff. Numerous community members, service groups, and organizations such as the Elks Club, Trinity Western University, CUPE, and local firefighters all come out to set up and clean up, serve food and drinks, and provide entertainment.

However, over the years, Christmas in Williams Park’s volunteer base has been diminishing and those that have worked so hard to make the event happen are depressed by the rash of thefts and vandalism.

“We lost all the lights we had,” said Sharp. “The volunteers were so deflated. What can we do? The community has been very generous in the past, but we simply can’t raise enough money in that time frame.”

This is not the end of Christmas in Williams Park, however.

Sharp said that, during the hiatus, the society will seek help and contributions from the community to regenerate the event, along with a new place to store its decorations. She has approval from the committee to approach the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce and the business community, and seek support from student groups, clubs, and community volunteers.

“We are going to turn a negative into a positive and come back with an event that is spectacular,” Sharp said.

Last year, one day after Christmas in Williams Park opened, thieves snuck in and stole numerous inflatables and cut a number of wires to the lights. This was followed by thieves breaking into a storage locker in February, stealing a large number of lights and extension cords.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley singer shares special country music honour with her late grandma

Karen Lee Batten, co-host of the BCCMA awards Sunday, was presented with two accolades.

Fort Langley paddlers push together for world gold in China

Canada’s mixed, women’s and men’s crews go undefeated in 21 races at 200m, 500m and 2000m distances

Former Langley roadbuilder faces fraud sentencing

A judge will weigh the fate of Matthew Brooks, who pleaded guilty to a $6 million fraud.

VIDEO: Fire in Langley Township

Multiple units respond to report of residential blaze in Walnut Grove

‘Angels’ help save life of Langley senior

Wilf Driedger believes he wouldn’t be here today if not for the quick action of two strangers

VIDEO: Country musicians pay tribute to Vegas shooting victim

Jordan McIldoon’s family attended BCCMA’s awards ceremony Sunday, where the country fan was honoured.

B.C. NDP convention set for Victoria

Premier, federal leader Jagmeet Singh to add energy

Silver Creek farm search expands north

RCMP were seen collecting evidence three kilometres north of the farm where human remains were found

Development cost charges could triple in parts of Metro Vancouver under new proposal

Utilities commission chair says rates aren’t keeping up with growth

Ferries re-routed due to fluid spill at Nanaimo’s Duke Point

At least one sailing from Tsawwassen to Duke Point was redirected to Departure Bay

Star calendar of events

Events and activities upcoming in the Aldergrove-Fraser Valley area

Good spirit in youth soccer

Aldergrove Youth and Langley United U11 Girls

ABC wins defensive juggernaut to improve to .500 on the season

Aldergrove Basketball Club’s Junior Boys won a defensive gem 35-31 against Abbotsford McGeez

Chilliwack homeless camp dismantled on Monday

Mostly co-operative group emerged from the woods with possessions and dispersed

Most Read