A new fundraiser is planned to help support and enhance the Fantasy of Lights parade in downtown Howell for years to come.

The fundraiser – Writing Future Chapters – will be held on Wednesday, September 18th on Center Street in downtown Howell. This “backyard barbecue” will support the downtown’s annual day-after-Thanksgiving event, which has lit up the crisp, late-fall sky for 35 years. The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting the event in partnership with the Howell Young Professionals (HYP) and wanted to give them an opportunity to connect to the community in some way.

Chamber President Janelle Best says they recently revamped the group and their mission is to offer opportunities to young professionals to connect, develop and grow both personally and professional by engaging in business and community growth. She tells WHMI the HYP group, pronounced hype, wanted to do something different than the gala-type fundraisers and thought a BBQ would be a fun, casual environment to raise funds - noting they really wanted a community block party feel. Best says the Fantasy of Lights is a great event and thousands come out to support it so they hope the community will do the same with the fundraiser. She says 100% of proceeds raised go toward the parade and they want to make it an annual event to get the community excited about what’s to come in the holiday season and let them be a part of that though the fundraising efforts to give back to a festival that has given so much to the community. Best further thanked the City for being so supportive and finding creative ways to raise funding for the event.

The fundraiser will take place on Center Street from 5:30 to 8:30pm September 18th. Along with hickory barbecue, there will be live music, a beer & wine tent, a silent auction, the Kona Ice Truck, and celebrity servers. There will also be yard games like bag toss, ladder ball and potentially a giant Jenga. Tickets are $50/person and include food and one drink ticket. A table of eight is available at the discounted price of $375, and a designated driver ticket option is $40. Discounted pricing is available for tables and several tiers of sponsorship opportunities are also open. Registration information is available through the link. (JM)