During our tour of the facility we learned it takes over 500,000 lights to light up the parade of 30 plus floats.
OLLI was fortunate to have several knowledgable guides for our tour, including our very own OLLI member Ralph Dalton, who is a long-time volunteer with FOLEPI. Rick Swan, Executive Director for East Peoria Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the group and talked about how the parade is a community effort growing in tradition for the last 29 years. OLLI learned from John Broshears, Festival of Lights parade coordinator, the background and details of each particular float and how they evolve from concept to actuality. And of course we met with Wally Jaquet, age 94, sometimes fondly referred to as the “Godfather of FOLEPI” since he has personally taken part in designing, wiring and welding almost all of the floats.
As one of the largest lighted nighttime festivals in the nation, the Festival of Lights officially kicked off the season with the Parade of Lights on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013! OLLI thanks all of the volunteers with FOLEPI for giving us a look at what goes on before the parade hits the road.
For more information about the Festival of Lights, visit www.cityofeastpeoria.com.