What has evolved into a cherished community event has now become a “wheel of fortune” for Woodland Elementary School.
Lushmeadows Lights, which was introduced to the Mariposa community amid the isolating Covid 19 pandemic in 2020, has reached new heights in attendance and fundraising, according to Lushmeadows resident Amber Blalock, who along with her trusty Woodland Booster cohorts, is the driving force behind the event.
The most recent holiday celebration was held on Dec. 15, and according to Blalock, the gleaming Christmas lights and decorations were draped on 16 different competing homes within the Lushmeadows subdivision, and multiple participating vendors entertained better than 2,000 local residents.
Blalock explained the emotional motivation that ignited the celebration, “The world was upside down. The Christmas parade in town was canceled; everything was canceled and closed. I just felt a deep need to create a safe gathering of people to celebrate the holiday.”
The success for this holiday hootenanny will pour thousands of dollars into the Woodland Boosters’ coffers. The highest previous fundraising endeavor grossed around $3,000. According to Blalock, this season’s affair brought in $5,585 in receipts.
The funds raised help purchase school supplies and physical education equipment, as well as providing field trips, educational assemblies, and other student-support efforts.
Spearheading the event are Woodland Booster members Erica Martin, Kelly Harris, Kim Allison, Julie Beery, Michele Wiesenberger, Jessica Stetten, and Maddie Patton. Everyone got involved, explained Blalock. “All of the sudden the water at the clubhouse quit working. Heath Harris, one of our biggest supporters, went up there and did some magic and got the water flowing. It was a mini-emergency.”
“The sweet girl who goes to Woodland and whose parents operate It’s All About the Wurst (burgers) food truck donated her entire tip jar. She gave about $40 to the Woodland Principal, Sarah Matlock,” Blalock said. “The CHP was also a huge help. They managed traffic at the entrance and one officer was driving around the neighborhood. I didn’t hear of any traffic issues.”
Again, this year, the first-place cash prize winner for best decorations donated the prize money back to the Woodland Boosters.
There were dozens of local sponsors at different levels. Gold sponsors included D.L. Weiland Construction, Stay Yosemite, Palmer Tractor, Supervisor Miles Menetrey, Peak Excavating and Land Clearing, Mountain Fitness, Foothill Hydroseeding, and Yosemite Falls Well Drilling and Pump Service. Silver sponsors were Realtor Rosalyn Allison, Emerald Coast Earth Moving, Accell Drywall, Angel Prestige Touch Detailing, Sierra Gold Cleaning, Roger Brunelle (State Farm Insurance – Mariposa), and Jennifer Parent. Rose Siller Mobile Notary was a Bronze sponsor.
Service sponsors and vendors included Kass Bismeyer with Sierra Sisters Design, Mariposa Safe Families, Emily Meriam (map maker), Triangle Market, Sal’s Taco Truck, Dixon’s Fixin’s, Mariposa Pizza Factory, Mariposa Pops, Mariposa Print and Sign, The Mariposan, Mr. and Mrs. Blessing, Mariposa County CalFire, Mariposa CHP, Joanna Ransom, Allison Sierra, Inc., Lushmeadows Mountain Estates, Halfdome Productions, STI, Souffle Cakes and Catering, Heath Harris, and Combs Printing.
“I just want to encourage people just to continue to shine brightly in the world of darkness; regardless of whatever bad things happen, just keep shining,” Blalock stated.