“Making the 2007 Lights Festival the Best Ever”

Making the 2007 Lights Festival the Best EverOn the evening of Friday, July 27th the Lights of Lobethal committee continued its theme, “Making the 2007 Lights Festival the best ever”; with about 70 people attending an informal get together at the Lobethal Centennial Hall. The hall had been decorated with Christmas displays on the stage (right) and in the foyer, with other displays set around the hall including, “The Living Nativity”, “The Christmas Tree Festival”, a “Graffiti Board” on which people recorded their thoughts and comments about the Lights Festival, and there were also displays and photos from previous festivals, with Christmas carols playing in the background.

The evening began at 6.30pm with a free sausage sizzle then continued with registration, free drinks and nibbles, until the formal part of the evening began at 7.30pm. The Lights of Lobethal Chairperson, Michael Willoughby (pictured right), welcomed everyone and introduced the Mayor of the Adelaide Hills Council, Bill Cooksley, who gave the opening address.

During his address the Mayor acknowledged the importance of the Lights Festival to the town and to the district, and he also reaffirmed the council’s ongoing commitment to financially support the Festival. Like Willoughby outlined the Lights of Lobethal Committee’s plans for the continued development of the Festival to ensure that it maintained its reputation as the Major Community Lights Festival in Australia. He explained the difference between a “Community” event and a “Corporate” event, and that the sponsors needed to get a commercial return for their sponsorship money.

With an annual budget of only $120,000, the Committee is faced with a difficult job to balance the expectations of their sponsors, its legal, health and safety obligations and the wishes of the community. Mike then explained the committee’s plans for a closer working relationship between them and the householders who put up the lights, and are the backbone of the Festival. Brian McGuiness, Environmental Health Officer from the Adelaide Hills Council, gave a presentation on Occupational Health and Safety and the council’s position on the issuing approval for food stalls at a public function.

He has supplied the Committee with detailed information, and if anyone is interested they should get in touch with the Committee. Steve Twigger, from ETSA, then gave an interesting breakdown of the cost of running various types of household Christmas Lights. Modern low voltage (12 – 24 volt) Christmas lighting uses far less electricity than older styles of lighting (festoon – large coloured globes).

The following will allow you to approximate the running costs of each type of lighting.

First obtain the Wattage of the lights;

  • For low voltage lighting, i.e. where the lights are powered through a transformer or plug pack, the rating (W or VA) will be written on the transformer / plug pack (generally between 20 and 100 Watts or VA). For low voltage lights directly connected to 240 volts the wattage will be on the box.
  • For 240 Volt festoon lights add together the wattage of the globes (as marked on the top of the bulb) (a typical string is 20 globes at 25W each = 500W total).

Then match the rating in the table below;

Match Table Contents

Note: The estimated maximum electricity cost for the different load ratings was calculated assuming 4.5 hrs of usage per night for 4 weeks and an average price of 20c per Unit (kWh) – the actual price will be subject to your contract with your retailer.

John McGuiness from the Woodside Police opened the floor for discussion on public issues of traffic and vandalism during the Festival. A lively debate followed, while John agreed with many comments made, he said that the police were restricted in their response by limited resources, but he assured everyone that the festival would be given as much support as possible.

The Co-ordinator of The Lights of Lobethal, Helen Smith, offered the public the chance to join The Friends of the Lights, so as they could be better kept informed of what is happening at committee level, and the opportunity to have their thoughts, ideas or other comments bought to the committee’s attention. Helen also spoke of an offer from the Make a Wish Foundation, for Lobethal to become involved in their Wish Upon A Christmas Light competition.

Further details on both of these items are available from the committee. The evening closed after the drawing of several door prizes, but many people remained for a further half an hour or more chatting among themselves, and thanking the committee on their effort. It was felt by both the guests and the committee that it had been a positive and informative evening, with everyone feeling that they had had an enjoyable time and had benefited from their attendance.

A cross-section of comments on the “Graffiti Board” includes:

  • Encouragement for community groups to sell food rather than ‘showground’ type vendors. This is also a time when local providers such as hotels, cafes and delis should have the most opportunity to make extra sales.
  • Trails are good for traffic flow but impact heavily on traders at the bottom end of the main street. Since the inception, foot traffic to places such as Heart of the Hills Market has reduced.
  • Offer family friendly things to do – don’t focus on things they have to spend $ on (e.g. in your face flashing badges).
  • Meet lovely people who are interested in our Festival. I love directing people while on my walks to great displays.
  • Can we change the Lights Trail and make a new direction and go the opposite way?
  • The opening of the lights should be on a Friday or Saturday night.

The LOL Committee will now analyse the feedback from this evening, combined with that obtained during their recent public survey, and develop a plan to co-ordinate the involvement of the committee and the community and ways of resolving any problems or issues. The LOL Committee wishes to thank everyone for their attendance and support. For further information contact:- Bill and Peg, e-mail:- chartres@chariot.net.au or any committee member.