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Time running out for light show, granting wishes

Time running out for light show, granting wishes

Motorists urged to donate as they take in the lights
Time running out for light show, granting wishes
The Make-A-Wish Christmas Lights display is seen off Locust Street in Amsterdam on Wednesday, December 21, 2016.
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

Organizers of the Kristy Pollack Memorial Lights show in Amsterdam are urging area residents to donate a few dollars on their way through the spectacle on Lyon Street.

Dave Falso, a member of the Kristy Pollack Christmas Fundraisers organization, said the group only has about 15 volunteers, and it’s not possible to take collections for the show in person, nor do they want to charge for the show, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeastern New York.

“The problem we’re having is it’s a drive-thru park. We don't charge anybody to go through ... probably only one out of seven cars donate,” said Falso. “Everyone goes through, and they enjoy it, but they don’t leave any money behind.”

Falso is requesting that, as people move through the light show, they leave a little something -- $3 to $5 -- in either of two collection boxes along the route, to show their appreciation for the show and support a great local cause.

Falso said Make-A-Wish of Northeastern New York has granted hundreds of thousands of dollars in wishes to ill children in Fulton and Montgomery counties.

The point of the light show, which has been offered for the past 18 years, is to provide area residents with a quality holiday spectacle, said Falso. But in recent years, the driving motivation it is to raise money for Make-A-Wish.

“We want to keep this alive, and we want the people of this area to come out and enjoy it,” he said.

Tim Riley, a spokesman for Make-A-Wish of Northeastern New York, said the organization has worked with the Kristy Pollack Christmas Fundraisers for the past five or six years, and it is an important part of Make-A-Wish’s operations in the area.

“I think it would be great for people who still have the opportunity to come out and support this I think it would be greatly appreciated,” said Riley. “What we’ve seen is that a wish can be a turning point to help children get through their medical challenge, and that certainly includes kids right in Fulton and Montgomery counties.”

Riley said the organization grants approximately 100 wishes in the region every year, from trips to Disney World and cruises to finding pets for children and celebrity meetups. One year, the organization even built a treehouse for a child battling illness.

“When kids come up with what we refer to as their one true wish, we work to find a way to make it happen,” he said. “And if we gotta find a treehouse specialist engineer who can help us do that, then we will.”

Riley said the Northeastern chapter serves 15 counties -- from the Canadian border to the borders of Columbia and Green counties, and as far west as the Amsterdam area. All of the money raised at the light show is used in the local area, he added.

“It’s a great show that [Falso] and his team put together, and we’d appreciate if people could recognize the work that goes into it,” said Riley. “And it would be appreciated by a lot of families.”

The Kristy Pollack Memorial Lights show on Lyon Street in Amsterdam runs every day through Jan. 1, from 4:45-10 p.m.

More information on Make-A-Wish of Northeastern New York can be found online at neny.wish.org.

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