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Generosity on Display: Twin Falls’ Christmas in the Nighttime Sky event returns after 2020 hiatus

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After last year’s hiatus, the Christmas in the Nighttime Sky event is returning to the Magic Valley just in time for the holidays.

Started in 1990, Twin Falls’ Christmas in the Nighttime Sky was inspired by a similar event by the same name in Elko, Nevada. Dave Wright, chairman of the Christmas in the Nighttime Sky Committee, has been involved with the event since its inception through Kimberly Nurseries, which hosts the event.

“We were looking to do something spectacular,” Wright said. “There’s lots of good organizations out there and businesses that contribute to lots of good, charitable programs, but we wanted something that was unique and our own.”

Wright and his team had the idea to combine two holidays that are almost six months apart — Christmas and the Fourth of July. The team accomplished this by creating an event with live Christmas music and fireworks, an Independence Day favorite

“We thought that would be an interesting way to combine aspects of those two holidays into one memorable event held the day after Thanksgiving each year,” he explained.

Christmas in the Nighttime Sky

People huddle around one of the several bonfires for warmth Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, during the 29th annual Christmas in the Nighttime Sky event at Kimberly Nurseries in Twin Falls.

In order to enter, attendees must bring one new and unwrapped toy per family. Wright said that while the admittance fee is one toy per family, the event often yields as many toys as people because many families bring more than one toy.

Oftentimes, families make it a tradition to bring the same toy each year — like one family who brings bicycles for kids in need.

“The generosity of the Magic Valley is what’s on display,” he said. “It’s an incredible display of the generosity of the people in the valley.”

The toys will benefit children in need chosen through the KMVT Christmas for Kids program.

The amount of toys the event is able to donate largely depends on the weather, Wright said. He explained that in years when the weather is relatively mild, up to 3,500 people will attend. On the other hand, when the weather is a bit more harsh, fewer than 2,000 might show up.

Wright said he is hoping this year will be a good one.

“Given, especially what the last couple of years have been like, it’s more important than ever to give when maybe it might hurt a little more,” he said. “It’s more meaningful when it comes from deeper.”

This year’s Christmas in the Nighttime Sky will begin at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Kimberly Nurseries, 2862 Addison Ave. E. The event kicks off with a free chili and Idaho potato dinner, which ends at 7 p.m., and continues into the night with bonfires, visits from Santa, and live music from Ellie Mae and Carson Hasher.

“We normally have Santa sitting in a booth where kids can sit on his lap,” Wright said. “Because of COVID-19, this year Santa decided to walk around, so he will be out there walking around the bonfires.”

Fireworks will begin at 7:30 p.m., and the show is choreographed to Christmas music, which will be played on KOOL 96.5 FM.

Wright said his favorite part of the event is long after the fireworks have ended.

Christmas in the Nighttime Sky

Donated toys sit stacked in a room Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, during the 29th annual Christmas in the Nighttime Sky event at Kimberly Nurseries in Twin Falls.

“After it’s all said and done, the crowd is gone, and it’s quiet again, I get to go up and see all of the toys that were gathered as the volunteers help count and load them up to go to the service groups,” he said. “That’s the part I make sure I never miss — before they start boxing toys and stacking them away. We get to see the fruit of all of the labor.”

While in years past attendees have been able to park at a much closer location, the Lighthouse Christian Church and School officials have agreed to allow this year’s participants to park in their parking lot.

Event organizers have arranged for a shuttle to carry attendees to and from the event. The event will close down Addison Avenue — from Eastland to Hankins Road — beginning at 5 p.m.

Each family must bring at least one new and unwrapped toy to enter the event, and toys should be geared toward children from the ages of only a few months to 16 years old.

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