First City of Lights Annual Holiday Displays Return for 26th Year
The streets and sidewalks of Bemidji will light up for the holiday season as the First City of Lights Foundation starts to decorate every inch of the city.
With the recent installation of Paul Bunyan’s 56-foot-tall Christmas tree in Paul Bunyan Park, decorations new and old are welcoming in the holiday season for the First City of Lights, marking the celebration’s 26th year.
Originally started by the city of Bemidji, the lighting displays were then handed to the Bemidji Area Chamber of Commerce before finding a longer home with the Bemidji Jaycees. With the Jaycees the display celebration grew. Now, the celebration is run by the non-profit First City of Lights Foundation.
Along with their current displays, the First City of Lights Foundation worked with the Bemidji faith community to implement two new displays. The first is a Nativity scene and the other is what some might call a “Paul Bunyan-sized” menorah, which will be set up later this month. These additions are part of the promise of the foundation to continually add more lighting displays every year.
But as a non-profit, the First City of Lights Foundation relies heavily on donations for these installations and events. With recent inflation rates, the support for the foundation is heightened in order to keep the lights on.
The foundation expects the streets to be fully lined with lights and almost all of the holiday displays set up by Sunday, Nov. 6.