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It started with a countdown.

Starting at 10, and slowly descending to 1.

With that, Bowman City Park literally lit up with thousands of Christmas lights and the smiles on the faces of hundreds of residents of all ages.

It didn’t even matter as the temperatures dropped into the 20s as the people bundled up, with some strolling down the walkway, others shooting pictures and groups of children hitting the playground.

The event started with a musical performance on top of a flat trailer parked across West Divide Street and continued with a band performing in the park itself.

Local Dollars for Scholars program served up cups of hot soup in the southern part of the park, asking for a free will donation. They offered Knoephla, Chili and Chicken Noodle soups.

On the northern edge of the park, the Bowman United Methodist Church set up a display for people to get photos of their faces on snowman bodies.

The park itself was surrounded and filled with decorated paper bag lanterns during the event.

The park will continue to light every night through the New Year from 3:30 p.m.  until 1 a.m. so people who couldn’t make it to the first night could still see it.

“We are blessed every year with amazing volunteers, businesses, churches, and organizations who believe in bringing joy to the community. Each year they amaze us with their beautiful and creative decorations,” said Brooklyn Engelhart, the Bowman County Development Corporation Creative Marketing Coordinator.

The Festival of Lights is hosted by Bowman County Development Corporation, which issued a thank you to the businesses, community organizations, and community members who made Festival of Lights possible by decorating the park or giving of their time.

According to the BCEDC, a special thanks was given to Darwin Wilke, Josh Buchmann, Pete Knopp, Southwest Ag, Wes Humbracht, Bartley Engelhart, Jolene Engelhart, David Werner, Peace Lutheran Confirmation students, Bowman Dollars for Scholars, Bowman County School students, Saxxy Brass, and other musical entertainment.

The park was decorated by Able, Inc., Bowman County Fair Association, Bowman Assembly of God, Bowman County School, Bowman Fire Department, Bowman Regional Public Library, Bowman Rotary, Bowman Lutheran Youth Organization, Bowman Seventh-day Adventist Church, Brosz Engineering, Inc., Bowman Area Chamber of Commerce, Bowman County Development Corporation, Classic Beauty Salon, Consolidated Telcom, Dakota Dental Center, Dakota Western Bank, Dickinson/Bowman Ready Mix, Dakota West Credit Union, Frontier Travel Center, Gooseneck Implement, Here We Grow Again Daycare, K-Artistry Salon and Spa/Premier Core Training and Gym, M&L Accounting, Montana-Dakota Utilities, Bowman United Methodist Church, Next Door Pizza, Bowman Parks and Rec, ProPoint Cooperative, Pioneer Trails Regional Museum, St. Charles Catholic Church, Southwest Healthcare Services, and West Plains, Inc.

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