Holiday lights display ruined by wire cutting Grinch in Caledonia
KITCHENER -- The Grinch seems to have made a stop in Caledonia last week – and he brought along wire cutters.
“Lights Along the Grand,” an annual holiday light display, was to be lit by Santa on Thursday night, but that afternoon his elves discovered an act worthy of coal.
Wires on multiple light displays were cut, rendering most of them “beyond repair,” according to Julie Henning, the president of the Caledonia Community Foundation.
“This was planned, people came down with the tools to do this."
Henning was very upset by the situation, describing it as “a heartbreaker."
She and volunteer Craig Peters spoke to CTV News while standing in an empty field at Kinsmen Park where the displays were set up just last week.
“Lights Along the Grand” typically turns the power on during the last week of November and stays lit until after the new year.
“Our team of volunteers came down that afternoon to put up the last couple of displays and discovered the vandalism,” Henning explained.
She said the cut wires weren’t obvious at first, but once volunteers took a closer look they saw multiple spots had been cut on each display.
“Light strings were cut all over the displays so it wasn’t a matter of being able to just splice here and there. We really needed to take them down, and the second thing was we wanted to get them to safety.”
The lights are estimated to be worth tens of thousands of dollars, accumulated over a few years’ time through donations.
The event is organized by nearly 40 volunteers who put in hundreds of hours over the last year before finally setting up the exhibit in the park last week.
“Two young guys, they actually took vacation time to make sure things were going to be right, that’s how much they care,” Peters said.
This year the exhibit had an extra station planned.
“We were going to have family pictures along the walkway,” Peters said referring to a photo and selfie station.
But organizers won’t let the vandal or vandals cut the wire of their Christmas spirit.
The Caledonia Community Foundation and the local BIA, who put on the show, are asking residents to decorate their homes and businesses ahead of the holidays to keep the spirits high.
They're also asking anyone who does take part to post a photo and tag them on social media.
“Christmas is going to come no matter what,” said an emotional Peters. “The Grinch couldn’t screw around on Whoville, this guy‘s not going to screw around Caledonia."
Organizers have planned a meeting with the County of Brant and volunteers on Tuesday to assess the damage and decide whether or not any of the items can be salvaged.
The group is calling shipping delays a “blessing in disguise.”
They are waiting for an additional $13,000 worth of lights to arrive, that they are told are still on shipping containers somewhere out at sea.
A delivery date for the additional lights is unknown but they are hoping they will arrive in time to set up a new display.
The team is still hoping they can get them up by Christmas, but what that display will look like is unknown.
The pavilion in the park is equipped with surveillance cameras.
Haldimand OPP confirmed they are investigating the incident.
Constable Mary Gagliardi said if perpetrators are caught “the appropriate criminal charges will be laid and may include, but not limited to, the charge of Public Mischief.”