New event brightens the night for the Shawnee neighborhood

Shawnee neighborhood holds first-ever Light Up event

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The first ever “Light Up Shawnee” brought a community-wide Christmas party to French Plaza on Amy Avenue.

The winter wonderland warmed hearts on a chilly night. All the food, music, crafts and a visit from Santa had everyone smiling.

Santa found his way to the first-ever Light Up Shawnee to hear for himself what the girls and boys wanted for Christmas.
Santa found his way to the first-ever Light Up Shawnee to hear for himself what the girls and boys wanted for Christmas. (Source: Michael Williams)

“It’s really fun to come without people arguing and having everybody get along for Christmas cheer,” said young Deondra Page, while she waited for Santa.

“My favorite part is being able to celebrate Christmas without anything bad going on,” said another young girl Ayana Bivens.

The night brought friends and neighbors together.

“I just had some new neighbors move in from Somalia so, I went over and told the kids to wrap up warm I was taking them to a Christmas Party,” said Sylvia Garner.

Sylvia Garner brought some new neighbors from Somalia to Light Up Shawnee.
Sylvia Garner brought some new neighbors from Somalia to Light Up Shawnee. (Source: Michael Williams)

Impromptu Christmas carols started up outside while everyone huddled together to watch organizers flip the switch, lighting up the entire block of Amy Avenue.

“I just feel like the effort has been worth it,” said Mary French, one of the owners of French Plaza and a driving force in making the celebration a reality.

French says she feels wonderful, watching all the months of planning pay off. French and her husband worked with the Shawnee Neighborhood Association, local churches, and businesses to make the night magical.

Mary French and her husband own the plaza where Light Up Shawnee took place. They are hoping to make it bigger next year.
Mary French and her husband own the plaza where Light Up Shawnee took place. They are hoping to make it bigger next year. (Source: Michael Williams)

“The neighborhood needs light,” said French. “Light means hope. You know how you say ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, well sometimes the West End feels like a tunnel. We want to see light.”

French says her husband is already plotting out how to make next year bigger and brighter.

Copyright 2018 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.