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The Live Wire

The Student News Site of Liberty High School

The Live Wire

Lighting up the community: Holiday Lights at the Lake

Johnson County charity raises funds for Birdhouse Hospice Home
Madelyn Johnson
Holiday Lights at the Lake is open Thanksgiving through New Years, 5:30pm – 8:30pm Sunday-Thursday, 5pm-9pm Friday & Saturday.

Looking at Coralville Lake this holiday season, families can notice a glowing display of lights illuminating the night sky. While the colorful bulbs are a beautiful reminder of the holiday season, they also serve a dual purpose. 

“Holiday Lights at the Lake is a community event and legacy fundraiser for the Birdhouse Home of Johnson County. We’re open nightly, Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve, and offer more than 1 mile of dazzling light displays at the West Overlook Campground of Iowa City,” said Kayla Fisher, a volunteer at the event. 

The Birdhouse, a hospice home in Johnson County was established in 2016 by Lois Bird. Lois’s husband Gary had recently passed away, after being terminally ill with cancer. Gary had been in need of a hospice to spend his final days, but there wasn’t a hospice in the Johnson County area. Gary had to go to an out-of-town nursing home for his final days of nursing care. That was when Lois decided to establish a non-profit hospice for the Iowa City area. 

“The Birdhouse Hospice Home of Johnson County is Iowa’s only private boarding house. They offer dignified end of life care in a home-like environment, for not only the guests, but their families as well,” stated Fisher.

While the organization had a special start, Holiday Lights at the Lake wouldn’t be what it is today without the many volunteers who give their time and effort to the cause.

“It is truly impossible to measure the number of volunteer hours or the number of volunteers that we have to put on this event. We are organized and operated by volunteers, and we have over 500 volunteers [who come] out each season to help build, operate, and then tear down the event. It’s incredible to see the amount of effort that people put into this event,” said Fisher.

The bright lights and festive atmosphere make for a perfect holiday excursion for kids and families. Since opening in 2021, many families have made it a tradition to see the light displays. 

“The thing that I really like to see each night is watching the kids come through and get really excited looking at all the displays. I have a core memory of coming through the ‘Jingle Bell Arch Tunnel’ and these kids were standing outside of their sunroof just pointing and waving and giggling,” Fisher said. 

Bringing holiday magic to the community is something that Kayla and her team are very proud of. Seeing the happiness they can bring to their community makes all the hours they put in worth it. An amazing event for an amazing cause, Holiday Lights at the Lake is spreading holiday joy throughout the community.

“In the quietness of the campground, you could hear their [the children’s] joy from all around,” says Kayla.

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About the Contributor
Madelyn Johnson
Madelyn Johnson, Social Media Manager
Madelyn is a Junior at Liberty and is a Social Media Manager for The Live Wire. This is her 3rd year in journalism, 2nd year on staff. She runs cross country and track and is also a member of the speech team. In her free time, you can usually find her hanging out with friends and watching romcoms.