Andy Griffith won't be attending the Autumn Lights Festival

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:13

    WEST MILFORD-The switch for The Autumn Lights Festival is turned back on. West Milford residents received the good news at the council meeting on June 2 from Councilman Carmelo P. Scangarello, who said the event would go on under the direction of the Department of Parks & Recreation. Earlier, rumors and speculation among area residents was that the council had abandoned plans to have the festival. One incorrect theory was that Councilman Paul Bailey had pulled the plug on the Autumn Lights Festival. It was also rumored that he intended to replace it with a carnival. "Not true," said Bailey during a phone conversation. Bailey told The Messenger the festival was not organized by the township. In fact, he said one resident was responsible for putting on the festival, Donna Wilson, and she had moved away. Bailey said if residents wanted the event to continue they had to organize it themselves and no one had come forward to do that. Until now. After Scangarello told residents he had been in contact with Donna Wilson regarding the festival, he asked for volunteers. The first to offer their services were residents Ken Freedman and Celeste Byrne. Autumn Lights originated about 10 years ago, as a celebration of West Milford's first traffic light. Residents say people from all over town contribute to special events, in a true sense of community spirit. In past years, the airport flew "Young Eagles" giving anyone under the age of 17 free plane rides. Free horse rides were offered in the center of town. Long Pond had horse drawn hayrides, petting zoos, and pumpkin picks. Antique car shows and mini fairs for children, complete with kiddie rides were among the attractions. According to Byrne, the Autumn Lights Festival is all of West Milford at its best. "Picture Mayberry all decorated and decked out," she said.