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Kingfisher's Christmas lights display may go dark

KINGFISHER — Kingfisher in Lights won't continue this year without a Christmas miracle.

To keep the annual Christmas light display alive this year, organizers need a slew of volunteers to check, repair or replace more than 2 million lights, Kingfisher in Lights President Rusty Sanders said.

Founded in 1996, the display was canceled last year due to the state Transportation D½epartment building new bridges at either end of the display. This year, there simply aren't enough free hands to keep the tradition alive.

"The board voted and said we just couldn't do it. We tried to give it to the city," Sanders said. "It's just not going to happen anymore. It breaks my heart."

Sanders said it would take 20 to 30 volunteers a night to get the displays in order, which include a smoking dragon with moving head and tail and the city's name written in 44,000 lights.

These days, they're lucky if anyone shows up to meetings other than the board of directors, he said.

And the city, which has provided volunteers and personnel and donated the electricity needed to power the display, can't handle the workload on its own.

"We just don't have the workforce to be able to handle what volunteers had done," Kingfisher City Manager Dave Slezickey said.

"It's something the community definitely loved, but getting people to pitch in and volunteer has gotten more and more difficult," Slezickey said. "It's a lot of hard work and a lot of time put into it."

With about 3½ months until Thanksgiving, Sanders fears time has run out for Kingfisher in Lights.

"I think this is it, unless a miracle happens. And miracles do still happen. But it better get here in a hurry and get up and show itself," Sanders said.