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Lights on the River Returns

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Lights on the River Returns
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The Saint Lawrence River is being lit up again at Lisbon Beach. It's a tradition that has grown every year. Barry Wygel shows us how some of the displays have a deep meaning to people in the community.


LISBON, N.Y. -- For the past three years, Lights on the River has been inspiring Christmas cheer in the North Country.

"We've grown from 25 to 75 displays and it's really just been the community coming together," said Scott Wilhelm, the event's organizer.

All the proceeds from the event go to help local food pantries across the region.

"So many people choose to donate. It's a dollar here, five dollars there. We've received $100 donations before as well," said Wilhelm.

While some of the displays were done by community groups as a fun holiday activity, some of the displays have very special meaning to the people who did them.

"Our father just passed away recently, five months ago. We just kind of wanted to do something in honor of him and I couldn't think of anything better than a Lights on the River display," said George Joanette, who created a display.

Steve Joanette's 11 children and 14 grandchildren all had a hand in creating the display, and they say it is a fitting way to honor his memory.

"He just loved Christmas and everything about it," said Joanette.

The Joanette family echoed event organizers, saying there is one thing they hope everyone takes away from a trip to Lights on the River.

"The Christmas spirit and everything that comes with it," said Joanette.

"This is the place to be. There's so many lights that there is no way to walk out of here or drive out of here without a smile on your face," said Wilhelm.

In addition to the light displays, the event features live nativities and carolers on select nights.

There is no cost for admission, but visitors are encouraged to donate or bring canned goods as donations. To get directions and more information about Lights on the River, head to lightsontheriver.org.

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