Lights, colors of season extends, thanks to Sertoma

Not ready for the lights, the decorations, the colors and merriment to wrap up with Christmas, even with the very different revelry to come with New Year’s?

Thankfully, the estimable service club Sertoma can extend your festivities with a slow car trip through Oak Park.

For some 20 years, Sertoma has transformed Oak Park into a colorful winter wonderland, dominated by lights and decorations. A volunteer force keeps the 60-70 units of light and color brightening up the woods of one of the city’s most favored locations. Members take turns manning the small admissions booth from the day after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve from 6-10 p.m.

The long-time display had begun with about 25 items, including six lighted items purchased by the club. The club had encouraged businesses and organizations to add their own displays but discovered it was difficult for businesses to find time to create quality displays. So about five years into the event, the club collaborated with Burdick Job Corps to have the welding classes build the displays with materials provided by the club. Sertoma members then would string wire and put in bulbs. Eventually, the club went to sponsorships for the displays.

Proceeds go to support a number of causes championed by the club. Since its inception in 1959, the club has supported Minot Park District, YMCA, Pathfinders, Boy Scouts, Boys State and Girls State and various charities. A contribution to the Minot Recreation Commission led to the construction of the Keith White Sertoma Sports Complex near the airport. A contribution provided for the induction loops to assist the hearing impaired at Ann Nicole Nelson Hall and the amphitheater at Minot State University. The club also has an endowment at the MSU Foundation that provides scholarships to students pursuing careers in speech and hearing. It has purchased sound systems and hearing equipment for local classrooms.

Sertoma’s annual effort demonstrates a win-win, a boon for the community as a whole and for those projects supported specifically by Sertoma.

In its way, the distinct Minot experience at Oak Park also extends the holiday just a little bit, for those not quite yet ready to ring in 2018.