Spotlight on… Bill Drysdale

There are many volunteers who make the Festival of Lights happen. We focus on Bill Drysdale who does so much of the behind-the-scenes work that make the Festival happen.

1. How long have you been associated with Festival of Lights?

I’ve been having fun with FOL folks for about eight years now.

2. What is your role?

My primary responsibility is to organize and supervise the installation of all our roof-top decorations and subsequent take-down of same.  I also weld broken decorations, make modifications and re-bulb them before organizing their storage to facilitate timely set-up next season.

The focus of my 20 year plan is looking for ways to expedite the set-up; we have gone from 2-1/2 months down to 1-1/2 months set-up time so far.  I saw an idea originally brought by Gord Cargil to ease the set-up on the Post Office, and made some adaptations to eliminate use of wood on subsequent decoration bases.

Keith Fitzgibbon further improved on my variation with a simple and brilliant design for a base which could be used for almost all of our decorations, (approx 100).  We brainstormed the final details and now have a design that eliminates the need for pallets on roof-tops.

We are seeking funding to have the final 75 made, at a cost of approx $200.00 ea.  The new bases will reduce our decoration set-up time to approx 3 weeks!

3. What is your favourite part of the Festival?

I would say my favourite part of festival is working with great people; all of us focused on bringing a great show for our friends and neighbours, as well as for the many visitors that come to our cool little town.

When Santa throws the switch we know that life long memories are being made; parents, grand parents, teenagers and most importantly, our young ones, marvelling at the sights and sounds of Light-Up, the Kinsmen Parade, Santa, and the LDCU Fireworks.

4. Which decoration is your favourite?

I don’t have a favourite decoration or bulb colour, probably because we are too busy setting them up or taking them down!

5. Favourite bulb colour?

We made a Poppy for the Legion this year and last year we made a Duck to honour you know who, for his amazing dedication to FOL.  The duck will move around town each year; keep your eyes open for his next resting spot!

6. What main challenges face Festival this year and beyond?

We share the common challenge of volunteer organizations; attracting dedicated people.  My job is well suited to someone fortunate to retire in their early fifties, looking to have fun while contributing to our amazing community, (…and is comfortable on ladders!).  We will train!

Thank you, Bill.