Cherry Hill ‘Illuminates’ the holiday with light tour

Residents can vote online for favorite decorated house

The Festival of Lights House Tour last year featured this home, winner of the contest for best decorations. (Special to The Sun/The Sun)

The township kicked off its winter season with two recent holiday events.

The community gathered at Croft Farm for its second annual Illuminate event on Dec. 4, when the property’s lights are switched on and performances are held by various groups. This year’s event included participation from the following: the Human Relations Advisory Committee, Cherry Hill West Chamber Singers, Cherry Hill East Voice and Bells of East, Temple Beth Shalom Choir, Teresa Andris Dancers from the Bowman School and Artists from Motion Dance Studio.

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There were also visits from Santa and Elsa, and a variety of food trucks. 

“We started Illuminate last year due to the post pandemic, and we wanted to make sure the community felt welcome and also part of Cherry Hill, because there’s just so many things to do,” said Mayor Susan Shin Angulo. 

“But this is to really celebrate the holidays in Cherry Hill … Since we started it last year, so many people wanted to participate and get into the spirit.”

In addition to Illuminate, the Festival of Lights House Tour is on full display by residents who decorate their homes and submit them online to be part of the tour. All decorated homes will be included on a town-wide map and participants can also enter an online competition for the community’s favorite houses. The winner will receive a small prize.

“The meaning of the holiday is all about light – light versus evil at the end of the day – and it’s such a warm feeling, whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa or Christmas, whatever your celebration is, just to display that around your house,” said the mayor. 

“It’s so meaningful to the whole entire community and everyone can say, ‘That’s breathtaking’ or ‘That means a lot to me,’” she added. “It’s just that heartwarming feeling you get when you see things are lit and you’re like, ‘Wow this looks so pretty!’”

Though the deadline for submissions is Dec. 5, those later by a few days will also be accepted.

“We don’t want to exclude anybody, because they put their heart and soul in to decorate these houses,” Shin Angulo said.

The Festival of Lights house tour began in the winter of 2020 to give families a safe activity during the pandemic. The tradition has continued, as will online voting via the township Facebook page and website at chnj.gov. There will be pictures of each house entered and   each like amounts to one vote.

Voting will go from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2, with a winner announced the following day. To learn more about the program, visit https://www.chnj.gov/festivaloflights.

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