When an attempt to pry loose some lights from the Christmas in Williams Park display in Langley failed, the electrical cords were cut up, vandalizing them beyond repair.
Barb Sharp, president of the non-profit Christmas in Williams Park Society, said the damage was discovered Monday morning, Nov. 21, four days before the drive-through event was set to open.
“Can you believe it? Already?” Sharp commented.
“We’ve lost quite a few off the back fence,” Sharp told the Langley Advance Times.
“I guess [the area was targeted] because it was out of sight.”
At least five “long commercial style” strings of lines had just been put up, Sharp said.
“They were zap-strapped and everything, so they couldn’t steal them.”
Damage is estimated in the “hundreds of dollars,” Sharp told the Langley Advance Times.
She called it “really disappointing.”
Sharp said the society plans to install security cameras in the future.
It is far from the first time that thieves and vandals have struck Williams Park.
In 2015, the annual event was nearly canceled after thieves had made off with around $10,000 worth of lights stored at the park, the second such theft in two years.
Nine-year-old Sara Walmsley started a campaign to restore the annual event, asking everyone she could think of to collect and donate lights, a campaign that is credited with starting the ball rolling and encouraging others to step in.
As donations and offers of help flooded in, Barb Sharp announced “a leap of faith” and said the park would light up.
In 2017, ATVs chewed up the river bank, tearing up the grass, and leaving deep ruts in other places.
In 2021, the outdoor Langley Forest School in the park was the target when when some late-night partiers trashed the place, damaging outdoor wooden fixtures and leaving behind garbage that included discarded drinks and other evidence of a party.
Students at R.E. Mountain school built a replacement for the trashed mud kitchen used for play and education by the kids.
Located at 6595 238th Street in Langley, Williams Park has been hosting the by-donation annual drive-through display for more than 30 years. Money contributed helps to purchase lights for future displays.
This year, Christmas in Williams Park will be open to visitors beginning Friday, Nov. 25 until Sunday, Dec. 18, open every night from 5 to 9 p.m.
It will be drive-through only, with no reservations required this year.
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