This year, I am following through on an idea I had two years ago when I first re-acquired my house. At the time. I was very interested in getting more community-focused. I have lived in my house for 12 years now, So I think I’m a fairly established community resident. But I have seen over my years here that fewer people are interacting with each other, and I’m certainly not helping in that regard. So, in 2015, I planned to do a community event. I registered an Internet domain for it and everything. And it didn’t happen. In 2016, I wanted to do it again, but in December, the GF and I ended up on a cruise for vacation, so there wasn’t really much time to organize it. I should have started much earlier than December anyway.
This year, I committed to doing the event. Right after Thanksgiving, I put flyers on everyone’s door announcing my plan and asking for replies. Surprisingly, I did get some replies, so the event was a go in my mind. What event? What the fuck are you going to do? Yeah, I hear you, I’m getting to that.
I had already assumed I wasn’t going to have any assistance from the community, so I budgeted all the supplies as if I was going to do the whole thing myself. As it turned out, there were almost a dozen people who contributed, so my supplies were way, way, way overbought. It’s fine, though. I consider them backup supplies, and maybe I’ll need them next year.
Ok, so here’s my plan. I want to decorate the whole neighborhood with… LUMINARIES.
All you need are paper bags, lights, sand, and lot of effort. I did a quick estimation of how much roadway I’d need to cover in my neighborhood and estimated I’d need somewhere close to 1000 lights. Holy shit. So I got online and ordered supplies for 1000 lights.
Shortly after placing the order, I realized that my measurements were wrong. I didn’t take into consideration that there wouldn’t be any lights placed in front of driveways. That significantly trimmed down the required roadway to cover, so I have plenty of extra. Plus, some people did choose to provide their own lights, so that’s even less.
So I spent days and days folding the lips of bags to keep them upright and sturdy. Then, the day prior to the installation, I began filling the bags with sand.
That’s 430 lights. How many will go out, I’m not sure.
This is the day of the event and regretfully, I haven’t really communicated with the participants. With a week to go, I placed flyers on all the community mailboxes with a bright “One Week To Go!!!” message at the top.
The witching hour came and with the assistance of AK and Husband, the final assembly of the luminaries took place – placing the lit LED light in it. Then the lights were taken to two waiting vehicles. Once those vehicles were filled, the extras started going out on the lawn. That’s when the people started showing up.
My neighbors across the street all came over and collected lights and took them away for their property. Then they came back and took more for further down the road. Then trucks started coming and loading up more lights in the trailer beds and driving them off. I can’t say it was incredible participation of the neighborhood, but the ones that were into it were really into it. There wasn’t any complaining to be heard, just getting it done.
The three of us headed up in one car to begin filling in the gaps. I chose to start at the far end and work our way back. We emptied the car after completely covering one area. It was a little depressing to see the lack of participation in that section, but that’s why I got so many.
I swapped cars and we began filling in more empty areas. And sadly, we ran out with maybe 10 houses left. We went back to the house and scrambled to make some more luminaries. We stopped at an even 500 and that limit was due to lack of sand to weight the lights down. It made me a little irritated that I must have squandered what sand I had for the early lights.
We drove back out and placed the remaining lights. We were still about 5 houses shy of fully covering the neighborhood and most unfortunately – for me – we did not get the lights out to the main roadway, which would have been a pleasant invitation for others to visit.
Nighttime photography is not easy, and this is my first attempt at it. Take it for what you will.