Organizers of the long-time tradition of Cochrane Light Up literally lit up when they got the call.

Cochrane Home Treasures, the supporter of many great community causes, has stepped forward with a $15,000 donation so that Cochrane Light Up can return this year on Dec. 4.

Home Treasures chair Barb Primeau says they realized how important the event is to Cochrane. Social media exploded with concern over its cancellation, and within three days the nonprofit gave the funding the thumbs up. 

"It's a beloved community event, and Cochrane Home Treasures wants to help support those in our community," says Cayley Breeze, manager of the nonprofit Home Treasures. "We want to make sure they continue to go forward and grow and become bigger and better."

Light Up chair Stephenie Shelstad says they had all but thrown in the towel before that call was received.

"Everybody was walking away," she said during the cheque presentation. "We were all done, and none of us had any fight left. You have reignited our spark."

Board member Rob Halfyard says they can't thank Home Treasures enough for what they have done.

"I have goosebumps," he said. "I have no idea how to thank you for doing this. We were down, and this has really lifted our spirits, and we'll do whatever we have to do to get this Cochrane Light Up going again and get everybody involved."

Last year, an amazing light show synchronized to music was created in the heart of the Historic Downtown to spread the Christmas spirit. Across town, people were invited to participate in a Light Up Wave by holding small gatherings on the opening night of the light show.

Shelstad says they received plenty of positive feedback. She recalls how one man told her of how he brought his daughter downtown every night to enjoy dancing to the show.

She says the funding from Home Treasures will allow them to continue to expand the show. Over time, she envisions how the show could encompass a large part of the downtown core. 

"My vision for this light show is that it eventually comes down 5th, goes across Grande, down Centre, and then encompasses this whole circle, so it's like a drive everybody can do. Every year we just need to put a little bit more and a little bit more to get it bigger and bigger, and it will bring people to Cochrane to show them our lovely town."

They are now laying the groundwork for neighbourhoods to participate in the Light Up Wave on Dec. 4. Last year, their celebrations were captured and streamed live.

Because of the ongoing pandemic, it's not currently possible to stage the major event downtown that attracts thousands of people.

"That's one of the things I like about the virtual part is that it stays in the community and you get to know your neighbours," says Shelstad.

Home Treasures chair Barb Primeau says their society has an ongoing mission to support the community with proceeds from its community and family thrift store, located at 208-5th Ave.

"We've done this for years, and now people are starting to realize that Cochrane Home Treasures is here, and if they need help, they can go to us. That's what they're doing, and we help as many people as we can." 

Already this year, the society has donated a record $153,000 to community causes, and it's only early October.

On Friday, Shelstad says she received word that the town has approved $15,000 for the event.

Light Up has been a Cochrane tradition since 1984.