Luminary Night in Deerfield aims to boost spirits during ‘trying times’

Staff Writer
Published: 1/18/2021 11:02:11 AM

DEERFIELD — The Recreation Department is sponsoring a Hearts for Heroes Luminary Night next month as a way of showing community spirit “in these trying times.”

On Valentine’s Day, luminaria will light driveways and walkways around town as a way of giving thanks to all those who have been impacted by the pandemic — from the nurses, doctors and first responders, to the parents at home while their children attend remote school.

“I truly mean everyone,” said Sue Antonellis, a member of the Recreation Department. “I know everyone is going through a tough time.”

“I think we just need something uplifting at this time,” she added.

The idea stemmed from the holiday decorating contest, which had about 60 entries, Antonellis explained. Between that event, and the toy and food drives hosted by the department in December, the community has responded well, Antonellis said.

After the decorating contest, called Light Up the Night, people asked her about holding a luminaria night, she said. Because she had a hearts theme in mind, the event became timed around Valentine’s Day.

So on Feb. 14, the Recreation Department is inviting people to place votive lights in red paper bags (or milk jugs) filled with sand and then line them up along their driveways or walkways.

“You can use anything to make your luminary,” Antonellis said.

Electric tea lights and bags with heart cutouts are available from the Recreation Department. Ten bags and 10 tea lights cost $10, and can be ordered by emailing Antonellis at

Starting at 5 p.m. on Valentine’s Day and continuing into the evening, residents will be able to drive around town, honking their horns in support of those who have decorated.

As for whether the new luminary night will continue into more “normal year,” Antonellis said the Recreation Department will see how it goes the first time.

“No matter what kind of year it is … everybody kind of needs a boost,” she said.

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