Friday, November 16, 2012

Ever Dream of Being the "Imperial Illuminator"? Now's Your Chance

By Christina Georgiou

If you'd like the privilege of lighting the largest  candle in North America (or possibly the world)  to an appreciative chorus of oohs and aahs in front of an audience of thousands, here is your chance to fulfill that dream in real life.

The annual auction for the title of "Imperial Illuminator"--that is, being the person who gets the thrill of throwing the switch for the very first time on the newly refurbished Easton Peace Candle and thereby marking the start of the yuletide season in the city--went live on Thursday.

The bidding was started on eBay at $50, but it likely won't stay there for long.

Last year's bidding topped out at $400, and the privilege was granted to Mary Elizabeth Soffera of Williams Township, a young fund raiser and big fan of the Peace Candle, after her grandfather, Ed Dietrich, won the auction and bestowed the honor upon her.

The candle is still apparently eight-year-old Mary Elizabeth's favorite thing in Easton, as she and two other members of her Brownie Troop donated $100 earned in a bake sale they held to help raise funds towards its lighting and maintenance.

Funds from the auction for the Imperial Illuminator title also go to this good cause.

Late last summer, it was announced the candle needed a structural overhaul, which came with a price tag of $10,000.

The Easton Holiday Committee was short on the funds, and the City of Easton has fronted the money to get the job done in the mean time.

The shiny new candle was erected on Wednesday, nearly identical to it's former incarnation. Visually, the only difference is, this one has white "wax" drippings instead of blue.

Holiday Committee Chairwoman Sandy O'Brien-Werner said Friday the group is still soliciting donations to make their goal so the city can be reimbursed in full.

In addition to still selling "shares" of the candle, people can "light a night" and dedicate it to a loved one, whether still living or passed on, she said.

The Easton Peace Candle lighting ceremony and many related festivities is set to take place next Friday evening, on Nov. 23 from 5 to 9 p.m. The candle will be lit at 8 p.m.

To view and bid for the "Imperial Illuminator" title and its attending privileges, click here.

For more information about buying Easton Peace candle shares, lighting a night or other ways you can help defray the cost of the city's most famous holiday asset, email Sandy O'Brien-Werner.

To see a complete schedule of events for the Peace Candle lighting ceremonies, click here.

Update, Thursday, November 22: The eBay auction for the privilege of being the Easton Peace Candle Imperial Illuminator ended with a final bid of $280. To see who won, attend the candle lighting ceremony!

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