December in Edmond always brings unforgettable memories of family time, fun activities with friends, sweater weather, celebrating traditions, and most recently — colorful lights! In the past three years, Edmond’s lights have transitioned from the Parade of Lights to Edmond Electric’s Luminance: An Enchanted Stroll. Part of the intent is to stimulate Edmond’s economy, and it has provided businesses sponsorship opportunities as well.
Edmond has started a tradition of inviting citizens and visitors for a unique and free stroll through the lights at Mitch Park. Other cities have lights; however, these light displays are walkable, elegantly arranged among trees, and include 3D characters, symbols, and words. A committee of community leaders thoughtfully discusses new displays to add to the interactive stroll. Five organizations have invested their time, talents, and money into Luminance for different reasons, but with the same goal of elevating Edmond’s holiday lights. Edmond Electric, YMCA, Edmond Economic Development Authority, City of Edmond, and Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce partner together to bring Edmond this display.
Luminance in Mitch Park at 1501 W. Covell Road includes brilliantly lit trees, pathways, and pavilions. It is open from 5 to 10 pm each night through January 3.
One of the ways Luminance has impacted Edmond’s business community is by providing sponsorship opportunities for people to give back. Business owners and leaders can sponsor light displays or the ice rink.
The hope from the beginning had been that Luminance would help stimulate the economy. The Edmond Economic Development Authority has been involved from the very beginning with that goal in mind.
“The EEDA is proud to be a founding partner of Luminance,” said Janet Yowell, executive director. “It offers our citizens a way to celebrate the holiday and gives anyone attending an opportunity to enjoy our community and hopefully stimulate the economy while they are in Edmond.”
According to Casey Moore, director of marketing for the City of Edmond, it has helped to do just that. “The opportunity to provide a new holiday experience that boosts the quality of life for our residents is really exciting,” said Moore. “We started seeing new visitors come to Edmond that provide an economic boost to our sales tax that is needed for roads, parks, public safety and more.”
Mayor and City Council were presented with the idea of replacing the Edmond Electric Parade of Lights. The parade was often canceled due to weather, and attendance was declining. Jessica Lyle, Community Program Manager for Edmond Electric, said, “We discovered 3D light displays that were popular in cities abroad. Featuring them in a month-long, walk-through lighted stroll in Mitch Park felt like a creative combination.”
The outcome of the 2017 City Council workshop was:
- Forgo the Parade of Lights.
- Move the Mayor’s Tree Lighting & Essay Contest to Mitch Park.
- Retain lighting in Downtown Edmond and Shannon Miller Park.
- Support Edmond as the only city in Oklahoma to have a walk-through 3D lighted display.
- Add additional 3D lighted displays in Mitch Park every year.
Edmond Electric’s Luminance: An Enchanted Stroll inaugural year showcased two 3D displays. The Mayor’s Tree Lighting & Essay Contest kicked off the season with an estimated 500 in attendance, which was more than anticipated. The two displays stayed lit throughout the new year with excitement from the community growing.
Luminance unveiled 20 new displays for its’ grand opening Ceremony. In continuing tradition, the Mayor’s Tree Lighting & Essay Contest kicked off the season with approximately 1,000 attendees. Luminance ran through January 6, 2019, and hosted three special events through December. The Edmond Ice Rink noticed increased attendance with more than 10,000 skaters, 2,000 more than the 2017 season.
“We jump at any opportunity to support community-minded initiatives, and Luminance is just that,” said Sherry Jordan, President and CEO of the Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce. “It has been a wonderful addition to Edmond and we’re excited to watch it grow year after year.”
Thirteen new displays made their debut as Edmond Electric unveiled the first Pop-Up Shop called Merry Marketplace. Fifty vendors from across the state set up various booths. Guests enjoyed shops, crafts, and food trucks. The kickoff featured the Mayor’s Essay Contest winners and the lighting ceremony. The City of Edmond installed a trail counter that calculated 2,400 people attending the kickoff. Overall, the 2019 season saw approximately 35,000 visitors and had over 50,000 engagements on social media. It was recognized as one of the Top 5 Places to See during the holiday season from News Channel 5. The Edmond Ice Rink enjoyed an increase of 37% in skaters, making 2019 their best year yet. An Economic Impact Study was completed by the EEDA that calculated the economic impact of Luminance at $3,225,168; and that Luminance likely generated $102,719 in local sales tax dollars.
“As a community benefit organization, the Mitch Park YMCA made a positive business decision to join with others to fund Luminance,” said Chris Berry, district executive director of YMCA. “It highlights physical activity and healthy living as visitors walk through the magnificently lit path and offers a unique holiday experience right here at home.”
Participate in Edmond’s dynamic holiday duo by strolling through Luminance, then lacing up for ice skating at the Edmond Ice Rink.
Enjoy five additional displays this season, including a new spectacular 30-foot tree and four colorful 8-foot words: EDMOND, HOPE, LOVE, and JOY. To date, Luminance boasts 40 innovative displays. Due to COVID-19, no special events will be organized, and visitors are encouraged to social distance while enjoying Luminance. Edmond Electric also asks that displays not be touched or climbed on, but taking pictures and sharing on social media is always encouraged. New sponsorship opportunities for Luminance will be available in January 2021. Edmond hopes to continue to expand Luminance throughout Mitch Park to create an experience of a lifetime.
Stroll and skate in Edmond
Before or after visiting Luminance, head across the parking lot to the Edmond Ice Rink presented by Edmond Electric. As the largest in the Tri-County area, the rink is open through January 4. Hours run from 3 pm – 9 pm Monday through Thursday, 3 pm – 10 pm on Fridays, noon to 10 pm on Saturdays, and noon to 9 pm on Sundays. General Admission is $12 and includes skate rental, $8 for children five years old and under, and $8 for those who bring their own skates. Group rates and private ice reservations are available. Enjoy free parking and food concessions. To learn more, visit www.edmondicerink.com.
Both holiday activities have plenty of space for social distancing, encourage masks, and are pet-friendly. All dogs are to be on a leash and picked up after while in the park. Visit www.visitedmondok.com/events for photos and additional details.
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About Jennifer Seaton
Jennifer Seaton has been the Director of Visit Edmond (also known as Edmond Convention & Visitors Bureau) since July 29, 2019. She is a City of Edmond employee and long-time Edmond resident. Jennifer brings extensive marketing and advertising experience from her 25 years working in the Oklahoma City metro. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Business Development for STAPLEGUN, an advertising agency based in Oklahoma City. She previously worked as the Director of Marketing for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and Vice President of Marketing for United Way of Central Oklahoma. She attended Ohio University where she received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Communication. Jennifer's goal is to elevate the “Edmond experience” to attract more leisure travelers, tournaments, and business conferences to Edmond.