LAFAYETTE — A 25-year-old tradition is no more this year, as The Festival of Lights at the Oil Center will not take place. The Oil Center Association Board of Directors say weather and the ability to raise money are just some of the factors for canceling the event this year. Local business owners have mixed feelings about the decision.
Pieces of Eight, a gift shop, has been around since 1971. Owner Nicole Perea says she remembers when Festival of Lights first began.
"I had a little boy who sang in the choir maybe the first or second year, he's in his twenties now," Perea said.
She says the festival brought new faces into her family store.
"Lots of people, it starts off their Christmas tradition, families would come, couples, we had people come religiously, it was just a fun night," Perea said.
A Little Town Apparel owner, Mary Jane Johnson, also says she is disappointed by the news. Her store has been open for eleven Festivals of the Lights.
"It's a family affair. We love the mommies, the daddies, and the children coming and going. So yes I was a bit disappointed when they said we weren't going to have it this year." Johnson said.
However, some business owners say they're okay with the decision.
"If it was bad weather, we could lose business, so we don't feel sad about it in that aspect," Holly Cure said.
Cure is the owner of Antoni's. She says festival or no festival, it won't dim their spirits.
"We're still going to have our Christmas decorations and Christmas drinks, so from our little corner, we're still going to celebrate it the same," Cure said.
It's unclear if the Festival of Lights will continue again in 2020, and for now the fate of Santa and his sleigh above Lafayette General is unknown.