SALISBURY, Maryland — The City of Salisbury has a long history of beautiful Christmas lights displayed in the City Park and while many groups and individuals have contributed to that history over the years, it is important for City residents and those who visit and enjoy them to understand the status of those lights this holiday season.
While there are far more lights on display this year overall in the park than last — thanks to the hard work of City employees and some wonderful volunteers — the reality is that the large tree that has stood in the park since December of 2017 will no longer be displayed due to safety concerns. Parts are no longer made for the tree and the deterioration is not something that is fiscally responsible to repair in a different way.
“Unfortunately, time and the elements have not been kind to the tree and after taking stock of the condition this year it was clear that it could not be installed,” said Mayor Randy Taylor. “However, I look forward to the planning for next year’s holiday season and engaging the community and businesses to help put together a great experience.”
The tree was purchased from Ocean City in 2017, so prior to its time in Salisbury it had already delighted millions.
“We understand that holiday traditions are important to the community and we have committed a lot of time and funds to make the display the best it could be this year,” said Allen Swiger, Director of the City’s Arts, Business and Culture Department.
ABCD took over management of the lights for the first time this year and endeavored to relight as many of the older displays as was possible. The department purchased 2,600 bulbs and repaired more than 400 feet of electrical wiring, while spending more than 500-man hours between ABCD and Field Operations to repair and place the displays. Several old favorites were able to be revived including Sammy the Sea Gull and Wicomico Woody.
In addition, Delmarva Christmas Lights (WeLightStuffUp.com) is a locally owned business that has donated time and lights to illuminate some trees in the City as well as the park’s iconic bridge across the Wicomico River for the last six years.
“During the rest of the year, I try to do what I like to call random acts of cleaning kindness, like cleaning up Ben’s Red Swings in the park” said Rob Anderson, owner of Delmarva Christmas Lights and Clean Power Wash LLC. “This time of year, I can also give back to the community by donating some lights that could just end up sitting in my warehouse. I started by doing a tree in honor of my grandfather who had passed away and did another for Wyatt’s Warriors when they were heavily involved in the lights. It’s about paying it forward. The fact that it makes someone’s day brighter, then fantastic.”
Anderson said that his team was working to finish the lighting of the bridge on Dec. 7 and had plans to also light a tree at the entrance of Main Street from Route 13 as well as the gazebo in the park.
In 2006, the Wonderland of Lights Fund was established with the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore. The purpose of the fund was “to support the cost of the annual holiday lighting display at Salisbury’s City Park.” The fund is an endowment that allows the interest to be spent toward the Christmas lights and has been inactive since 2018.
Swiger recently became the custodian of the fund and plans to use the current available funds toward the upkeep and repairs of the current lights.
“The Wonderland Fund set-up through the Community Foundation is open should people want to contribute to new displays or simply support the rehab and maintenance of our current displays,” Swiger said.
To make a donation you can go to https://www.cfes.org/donate. In the drop-down menu with your gift, you can select “Other Fund” and then type “Wonderland Fund” in the Comments.