First Night Oneonta, a volunteer run group that has brought the greater Oneonta community an alcohol-free family New Year's Eve celebration for many years is bringing another special event to Oneonta's Neahwa Park this holiday season: Festival of Lights. The First Night Oneonta committee decided that this was the perfect event to replace First Night Oneonta which draws crowds of people and deemed not safe during the COVID-19 crisis.

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First Night Oneonta is dedicating this holiday light event to the late John Hayen and his family. John, a former long-time Oneonta resident and employee here at Townsquare Media Oneonta and dubbed as "Mr. Christmas", recently passed away and has always had one of the best holiday light displays in the Oneonta area which people would forward to enjoying every year. It's fitting that this holiday light show be held in his honor since he loved the holidays more than anyone I know! Below is a photo of John's holiday lights, decorating his property back in 2017.

John Hayen's christmas light show 2017, TSM Oneonta

This drive-thru holiday event will run daily for 2 weeks, Dec. 18 through Jan. 3  from 5pm to 10pm in Neahwa Park in Oneonta and feature decorated trees, floating luminaries in Hodges pond, and other holiday light displays created by community members and organizations. Anyone interested in creating a display for the Festival of Lights should contact First Night Oneonta through their website Up to $2000 in prizes will be awarded for the best displays.

Thanks to sponsorship from Five Star Subaru and the LEAF Council on Alcoholism and Addictions this event is free!

Walkers are NOT permitted for this event due to safety issues. Vehicles should enter Neahwa Park from the Main St. entrance and will exit on Market St.

To find out more and stay updated on this event you can visit or the First Night Oneonta facebook page.


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