Marching Rams light show returns
AMSTERDAM It may not look like much when the sun’s shining, but Cathy Harrison guarantees the 14th Annual Light up the Sky with the Marching Rams drive-through light show will be as impressive as ever when it kicks off Friday night.
“We just need a light dusting of snow and it will be perfect,” she said.
Harrison and a half-dozen other members of the band’s booster club have been hard at work since February, touching up old displays and crafting new ones. On Wednesday, all 550 handmade plywood displays — from “Toy Story” characters to Santa’s workshop to a traditional Christmas village — were set up along three-tenths of a mile of private drive between Brookside Avenue and Market Street.
Starting Friday night and running nightly through Dec. 23, the drive will be open to vehicles. Band kids dressed as toy soldiers, Raggedy Ann and Harry Potter — among other characters — will supplement the painted displays.
“We all take turns being Mr. and Mrs. Claus,” Harrison said.
The show is a huge amount of work for the booster club, but according to band director Michael Perry, the work pays well for the Marching Rams. The $14,000 to $16,000 generally raised from the show each year goes to “enriching the band experience” for nearly 150 musicians.
The funds don’t buy new instruments or uniforms; the school pays for those. The light show money pays for travel.
“This January, we’re going to Washington to compete,” he said. “Without this fundraiser, the kids would have to put up a few hundred dollars each just for the bus.”
About 3,000 cars will pay to take the drive in the next month. Measured another way, every person in every car is presented with a candy cane to enjoy during the drive. The booster club orders 10,000 and often runs out.
People go to see the sights, but Perry said it’s more than that.
“The band does a lot for the community,” he said, listing off a handful of recent events graced by the Marching Rams. “The community sees that and comes out to support us.”
Light up the Sky with the Marching Rams will be open from 6:30 to 9 p.m. and costs $5 per vehicle. The entrance is located at 154 Brookside Ave.