Locomotive Park continues to be town favorite

Wendy Guo, News Assistant

The Lewiston-Clarkston community gathered Saturday, Nov. 23, for the annual tradition of the lighting ceremony at Locomotive Park on Main Street in downtown Lewiston. Dancers from River City Dance, Dance Dynamics and Footnotes performed as well as Gold Voices from LHS for the community before lighting.

This event has been a fundamental part of the community’s winter holiday traditions for over two decades.
“My family always enjoy walking through the park and looking at the lights,”Gabby Trigsted said of Lewiston. “This event in my household is the kickoff of the Christmas spirit!”

Hosted by Winter Spirit, a nonprofit organization, this tradition began from humble beginnings. Over 20 years ago, Larry Kopczynski, a licensed electrical engineer, saw the potential of Lewiston parks after viewing a holiday light display in Tacoma. This peaked Lewiston Chamber of Commerce’s interest and they met over a business breakfast. According to the Lewiston Tribune, Kopczynski sketched the idea of illuminating the 90-ton engine on a napkin. He explained to the Tribune that his intentions were a bit selfish. “If you have ever been at the park on a Friday night and see the joys on people’s faces, there’s nothing more rewarding.”

For the first year, lights hung on only a dozen trees along with the locomotive. 20 to 30 electricians worked, laying strings in plastic pipe to get power to the engine.

Since then, the Winter Spirit organization puts all donated proceeds to the lights, equipment or the electrical bill.
It’s the best way to get in the holiday spirit with family or friends by seeing hundreds of vibrant lights illuminating the trees and pathways. Not to mention, all the fun photo opportunities!

According to winterspirit.com, volunteers began setting up lights in late October and will remove them after the first weekend of January.