Volunteers come together for the 25th annual Rotary Lights

Rotary Lights has arrived and millions of light bulbs are drawing thousands into Riverside Park.

“There’s a lot of lights in the park, I can tell you that,” said President of Rotary Lights President Pat Stephens.

The people putting the show together like the lights too, but for a different reason.

“If you’re one of the guys who gets to turn the switch, it’s amazing. People say you did a fantastic job. That makes it worthwhile.” said volunteer Greg Theras.

This wasn’t the first place Theras saw himself after retirement.

“I imagined myself on a sandy beach in the Caribbean, but this works.”

For 25 years, rotary lights has been made possible by hundreds of volunteers.

“A lot of work, a lot of effort, by a lot of good souls,” added Stephens.

“Nobody gets paid here. Except for me. I get paid in Chocolate chip cookies,” joked Theras.

Last year was Greg’s first year volunteering at Rotary Lights, it was the volunteers he worked with that made him come back.

“I like the fellowship. The people I work with.”

And while his coworkers are a huge plus for the job. There’s one part of the festivities that Greg can’t wait for.

“My favorite thing to do? Being Santa Claus.”

While his beard fits the part, it was a coincidence that saw Greg trade his blue jacket for a red coat and hat.

“The guy who had to do it was sick, so Pat Stephens comes up to me and says ‘I need you to do me a favor, can you be Santa Claus?'”

Pat knew that Greg would be a good fit for the role. Because to him, there’s no better place to find a replacement Santa, than the volunteers at Rotary Lights.

“There are so many big-hearted and talented people in the area, and if you’re not involved in something like this, you might not get the chance to meet them.”

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