PORTICO had the opportunity to talk with Casey Creasey, Executive Director of the Greater Belhaven Foundation, about how Bright Lights Belhaven Nights began and the hopes for the future. With the inception of the festival in 2004, this community event continues to promote Belhaven in a positive light celebrating artists, musicians, chefs and other merchants.
How long have you been the director of this community event? What is one interesting task you have to do while upholding your position?
This is actually my first year coordinating the event as Executive Director of the Foundation. I have worked on BLBN previously in different capacities. In 2015 I served as co-coordinator of the Festival, in 2016 I was the featured artist as well as the social media chair. This year has definitely been more intense than the previous years I worked on the festival because at the end of the day if something goes wrong it is my full responsibility. I think the most interesting task I have to do while working on the festival is working on getting the artwork together for the posters, t-shirts and social media. I love to paint so this gives me the chance to work with something I truly love, not to mention the music!!! I love listening to all the bands and musicians we sign for the festival as a matter of fact I am listening to Robert Randolph and the Family Band as I am answering these questions.
Is there a story behind the creation of Bright Lights Belhaven Nights? How did it come about?
Bright Lights Belhaven Nights is a neighborhood event that was conceived in 2004 with the goal to promote and build community in Greater Belhaven by celebrating its artists, musicians, chefs, and restaurants and other merchants, and to provide an opportunity for residents and people connected to the Greater Belhaven Neighborhood to share their talents with the metro-Jackson community and beyond.
What is the purpose of this event? What do you try to execute as you put on this annual event?
This event began as a neighborhood festival as a way to showcase the vast talent that our residents in Greater Belhaven possess. The festival served and serves as a way to get our residents out to meet each other in fun atmosphere. We also want to bring in people from all over the Jackson Metro area and show off our amazing neighborhood. Greater Belhaven has so many wonderful things going on and we want people from all over to see that and experience it firsthand.
If you could choose, what do you find the most rewarding after planning such a huge community event?
I find the most rewarding thing to be hearing people talk about how much they loved it. My daughter asked me why I was excited about planning Bright Lights the other day and my response to her is the same I am going to give now I love being involved and helping to plan something that makes people happy, that gives them an escape from day to day life and a chance to cut loose and have fun.
What do you think is the most popular about BLBN?
I think the most popular things are the music, art and food!! We have The Weeks just about every year and this year we also have Robert Randolph and the Family Band. We have a music line-up for just about everyone. The committee tries very hard to make sure no matter what your musical taste, there is something at Bright Lights for everyone. Several artists set up shop and give festival goers a wonderful opportunity to add to their art collections. Last but not least the food!!! We always have several neighborhood restaurants as well as other Jackson area food trucks and vendors!
What do you have planned for the future of this event in later years? Where would you like to see BLBN accomplish as it gains more popularity?
This festival has grown so much over its 14 years. It is hard to imagine how much it will grow in the next 14 years. The Bright Lights Committee discusses this very thing constantly we are always looking for ways to grow and change but not so much that we lose the original feel of the festival.