If you had the opportunity to drive through the 2021 Oneonta Festival of Lights this past holiday season, then you probably couldn't help but pick out your favorite displays. My family and I drove through this free event a few times since it's free and why not? It always brings smiles and who doesn't need more of those during a pandemic?

The event began last year from the First Night Oneonta volunteer group as a way for people to safely enjoy some holiday cheer during a difficult time when gathering with people was not recommended because of the coronavirus. It was such a huge hit with residents from all around the region coming to enjoy it that it returned in 2021 with many more displays than the first year and new participants creating great light displays.

According to event organizer Carol Mandigo, this season's Festival of Lights was challenged right from day one, December 18th when it opened. The issue was excessive rain that caused a litany of electrical short circuits with many displays. Thanks to the tireless efforts of volunteers and event committee members, the Festival of Lights was able to go on as planned. Not an easy task!

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The First Night Oneonta committee has awarded cash prizes to the top 3 displays in the 2021 Festival of Lights. The first-place winner receives $500 and another $500 to donate to the local charity of their choice. The second-place winner receives $300 and another $300 to donate to the local charity of their choice, and the third-place winner gets $200 with another $200 going to the charity of their choice. Check out the winners below...

2021 Oneonta Festival of Lights Winners

Here are the top 3 entries into the 2021 Oneonta Festival of Lights that was held in Neahwa Park in Oneonta during the holiday season. All winners won a cash prize thanks to sponsors, along with a matching donation to give to the local charity of their choice.

And if You Missed The 2021 Oneonta Festival of Lights, Here's the Recap

This is a collection of photos taken of the holiday light displays created by community members and businesses in the Oneonta region for the 2021 "Festival of Lights" from First Night Oneonta with the help of sponsors.