Bluffton’s Blaze of Lights to return for 36th year

BLUFFTON — For the 36th year, the Village of Bluffton will welcome back a holiday tradition.

The Blaze of Lights Festival will return to Bluffton, starting with a parade at 5 p.m. Saturday.

“The Blaze has become a tradition for Bluffton,” said Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jim Enneking. “It will be the 36th annual Blaze, and coming out of COVID this is kind of a new beginning for everybody, I think, during the holiday season. We can hopefully put COVID behind us for the most part and come back and enjoy company together. It brings our community together. It’s kind of a homecoming for people who are coming home from outside of town for the holidays, bringing new people into the village to see what we have to offer in Bluffton and it’s just a feel-good day for everybody.”

In addition to the parade, the festival will have music and entertainment, a reading of a Christmas story, a visit with Santa, the lighting of the Ream Display and a few more new features including a tour of community lights provided by the Lima trolley and an event called The Blaze After Lighting, featuring live music by the Jerry Szabo Trio and the Pinup Project, as well as a heated beer and bourbon tent on Vine Street.

“In past years, we’ve had horse-drawn carriages to ride around town and had trouble getting those this year because of retirements and all of that good stuff,” said Enneking. “So we decided to try something a little bit different this year. We’re going to have the Lima trolley here to give rides and there will not be any charge for those rides. In the past, with the horses, there was a fee to ride the wagon. This year with the trolley there will not be any fee, and then the other part is the Blaze After Lighting which is new this year and that’s our entertainment tent.”

Enneking said that the festival will also coincide with a special event going on all day and that he hopes that people take away nothing but positive vibes from the event.

“This is our start to the Christmas season,” said Enneking. “So during the day all the shops downtown will be open for Shop Small Saturday for small businesses but at the end of the night, people should leave with a good feeling and feel ready to dig into the holidays. So this is really our kickoff event for the Christmas season.”

The theme for this year’s parade is “A Candyland Christmas” and it will start on Main Street. Bluffton’s Blaze of Lights display will be lit on the lawn of Bluffton Presbyterian Church.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.