Christmas Convoy of Lights delights community |

Christmas Convoy of Lights delights community

By Suzann Gilliland Peterson Special to the LVN

The Christmas spirit is thriving in Fallon!

In an effort to bring some happiness and joy in this year’s COVID-19 Christmas season, the High Desert Grange partnered with Toys for Tots and V Titans to bring Fallon’s first Christmas Convoy of Lights to our community.

The Convoy of Lights idea was born from a desire to help Toys for Tots raise as many toys as possible for Churchill County and a desire to provide a community-wide event to bring people and businesses together during this scaled back Christmas. Toys for Tots’ Junior Wempner, V Titans’ Josh Moyer and High Desert Granger Gloria Montero ran with their idea and created the Christmas Convoy of Lights. High Desert Grange is a family oriented organization that focuses on community service, so partnering with two more community service-oriented organizations was a step in the right direction for the Grange.

Once word got out in print and social media, finding entrants was fairly easy. Excited participants comprised families of all ages, businesses and organizations, including The Grid, WT, Inc., the Churchill County Sheriff’s and Fire departments and Churchill County Search and Rescue. Entries totaled 20.

A toy or a cash donation for Toys for Tots was the only entry fee.

Upon completion of the event, Wempner said about 50 toys were donated. He considers the convoy a success not just for Toys for Tots but for the community as a whole.

“The Convoy of Lights allowed all of us to come together and build on that Christmas spirit that is so much a part of our town,” he added.

Participants took care of their own displays. High Desert Grange members lined up the convoy and made sure everyone knew how to proceed — north on Taylor Street from the Fairgrounds, east on Williams Avenue, west on Maine Street to V Titans. When asked about the level of enthusiasm among the entrants and volunteers, Gloria Montero said she couldn’t even begin to explain the excitement, the enthusiasm was palpable.

 “2020 has been a hard year on everyone and this just gave everyone a chance to feel normal again, if just for a moment,” she added.

COVID-19 safety protocols were followed. Spectators lined the entire route. All the parking lots were filled with cars holding delighted occupants. Vehicles also lined the streets. Small family groups braved the cold and stood on the sidewalks. Spectator excitement was high with lots of cheering and honking.

On the Facebook page Christmas Convoy of Lights, three categories were available to the community for voting. The categories and winners were as follows:

Best Display with Lights – WT, Inc. (Ray and Karie Blankenship)

Best Display with Toys – Mark and Stephanie Slathes

Biggest Toy Donation – Mark and Stephanie Slathes

Runner Up – Jessica Hayden

Runner Up – Elisabeth Medina

Moyer believes the event was extremely successful, particularly for the kids at his store. V Titans is the only gaming location within 60 miles and is a popular destination for kids seeking both gaming opportunities and toys.

“Their faces lit up when they saw the lights go by,” he said.

During the convoy, children and adults alike stopped into his store for free hot chocolate and coffee and to try their hands at free demos and games. V Titans is the yearly headquarters for Toys for Tots and is located at 143 S. Maine St. Moyer said he’s looking forward to next year and the chance to work with Toys for Tots and the High Desert Grange once again.

Christmas Convoy of Lights thanks the following people whose support helped make the Christmas Convoy of Lights such a success:

Ruth Miller, Lisa Peterson, Kristy Mills, Melissa Williams, Mike Irby, Megan Amick and everyone who gave time and energy. A special “thank you” to the Churchill County Sheriff’s and Fire departments for keeping a safe traffic flow.