What it’s all about

The Florenceville-Bristol and District Chamber of Commerce introduced plans for Reboot 2020, an event designed to recharge northern Carleton neighbourhoods with holiday spirit. In an email to the River Valley Sun, chamber president Barbara Meed described plans for ReBoot 2020 on Nov. 19. Meed said the chamber is asking businesses and residents across the region to turn off regular exterior lights at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19, so all the lights, including holiday lights, will go back on at 7 p.m. She said that would include strings of Christmas lights, projectors, candles in the windows, spotlights, porch lights and even flashlights. “Just like rebooting a computer,” Meed said, “we will reboot our season back to 2019. Anyone anywhere can participate, and we are giving notice to be ready. Businesses, as well as residents, are all included.”

In an effort to pass the spirit around, Meed asked residents with extra sets of working strings of lights to share them with neighbours or friends. Or, she added, anyone with a bit of spare time and a stepladder could help a family member, friend or neighbour. “This is neighbour supporting neighbour, just like Maritimers always have done,” said Meed. She hopes to see as many communities participating as possible, noting she has reached out to Bath and Glassville to join Reboot 2020.

Meed said holiday lights have long played a central role during historical events. During the Second World War, Meed offered as an example, England banned outside lights so night bombers wouldn’t have targets. During the energy crisis in the mid-’70s, she added, when oil and gas became prized commodities, so did electricity. “Outside lights were particularly frowned upon for the waste of resources,” she said. Even in 1989, Meed said, outside lights played a part in history, citing a little known piece of trivia. “East Berlin residents were only allowed white lights,” she said. “When the Berlin Wall came down in November that year, East Berlin and West Berlin were reunited, and coloured lights were used everywhere in celebration. “Now, here we are, all of us, let our lights shine on Nov. 19.”