The strings of glittering lights that hung over Mercer Village illuminated students and community members during the Light More Homes festival Nov. 17. Attendees enjoyed games, a snow machine and other Christmas festivities.
For 15 years, Macon Area Habitat for Humanity (MAHFH) has organized the Light More Homes fundraiser in order to combat substandard housing.
Each year, MAHFH challenges local middle and high school students and Mercer students to code light patterns synched with music to create unique light shows. Each team competes for prizes and the winning teams are announced during the unveiling.
According to maconhabitat.org, the event was originally located at Chick-fil-A on Tom Hill Sr. Blvd. In 2020, MAHFH moved the fundraiser to Mercer Village. Since then, Light More Homes has become a staple of the community.
“We are extremely grateful for Mercer's partnership in this,” Executive Director of MAHFH Ivey Hall said. “The event is presented by Live @ Lofts, but it's in partnership with Mercer and we could not do it without the Mercer community being a part of the Light More Homes.”
According to Hall, MAHFH’s partnership with Mercer University and Live @ Lofts benefits Mercer as well as the organization.
“It's also a great way for students at Mercer and the community to get involved in our mission, and also bring in this magic to Mercer for the Christmas season,” Hall said.
Preparation for the fundraiser is not a simple task. According to Hall, over 300 volunteers work with MAHFH over the course of several months.
“Everything here in Mercer village goes up the first Sunday in November, and then we spend weeks testing it to make sure it's going to work,” said Hall.
The programming contest usually begins in August or September and the judging for the competition happens in November.
Zarif Rahman, a freshman at Stratford Academy, tied second for the high school competition with his group’s program to the song “Away in a Manger” by Tom Rule.
Rahman explained that the process of coding for the shows takes time and practice.
“First, we listen to the song a couple of times to get used to the beat, and find major points where it gets louder, faster, quieter, and kind of plot out how we want to do it,” said Rahman.
In addition to the lights above Mercer Village, Candy Cane Lane lights up Winship Street and is synchronized with Mercer Village lights. To listen to the music paired with the lights, participants can tune in to 92.7 FM radio.
The lights will remain in Mercer Village and Candy Cane Lane until Jan. 7. The unveiling of the lights signals the beginning of the Christmas season for many Mercer students and residents of Macon. The Light More Homes festival continues to bring festive cheer and holiday magic to the community.