Veishea organizes new holiday festival

Billie Moorehead

Although budget cuts have caused an end to the university’s annual Festival of Lights, Veishea committee members have stepped forward to provide a new winter festival for Iowa State.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Veishea will sponsor “A Winter Celebration: The Festival of Lights.”

The event will include speakers, carolers, a chili sale and the lighting of a holiday tree, said Jessica Carlson, general co-chairwoman of the Veishea committee.

“It’s a neat way to bring people together and celebrate the winter season,” said Carlson, senior in journalism and mass communication.

A program at 6 p.m. will feature Thomas Hill, vice president for student affairs, and Lindsay Erickson, junior in elementary education, as speakers.

Lindsay Erickson’s father, Dennis Erickson, manager of Facilities Planning and Management, will be lighting the tree for the last time before he retires this year, Carlson said.

The Veishea committee will also sell chili, with the benefits going to the leadership scholarship for high school students.

“The organization as a whole has been working on [the festival],” Carlson said. “We see it as a tradition helping another tradition.”

John McCarroll, director of university relations, said the annual Festival of Lights, which took place on Central Campus, had to be discontinued this year because of budget cuts. He said the decision to drop the event was “entirely budgetary,” and came down to the cost of the supplies and services.

McCarroll said the university saved about $4,500 by cutting the event this year.

“The cost is largely candles, other materials, hot chocolate and lighting costs,” McCarroll said. “We applaud the Veishea committee students — they should be proud.”