Sara Walmsley, 9, stands next to 'Sara's tree' at Williams Park. It was named to honor her campaign to rescue the Christmas lights display, which opened on Thursday.

The girl who saved Christmas

Nine-year-old recognized for her efforts to revive the holiday light display at Williams Park

Sara Walmsley now has a tree named after her.

The lights on “Sara’s tree” were turned on with thousands of other lights and Christmas decorations at Williams park, less than a month after the nine-year-old started a campaign to restore the annual event after it was cancelled because of theft.

Thieves had made off with around $10,000 worth of lights stored at the park some time in October.

It was the second theft in two years.

Sara’s campaign to replace the stolen lights and save the event started the ball rolling.

As donations and offers of help flooded in,  Christmas in Williams Park Society president Barb Sharp announced “a leap of faith” and said the park would light up from Dec. 11 to Dec. 21.

On Thursday, the lights were officially turned on.

Township mayor Jack Froese introduced Sara to her tree.

“It’s really cool,” Walmsley said as she watched the lights flicker.

The park will be open to visitors to drive through and admire the lights from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night.

The event is free, but donations are welcomed to support next year’s volunteer-run event.

Williams Park is located at 238 Street and 68 Avenue.

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