GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - This weekend's winter storm forced several churches to cancel their services and events Sunday. But one church wasn't going to let mother nature stop an event that's never been canceled in its thirty-year existence.
Calvary Church on the Beltline in Grand Rapids has been hosting a holiday season event called "Festival of Lights" for three decades, and regardless of the weather during that stretch, organizers have never canceled. People still drove from all over the state to see Sunday's two performances.
Cars poured into the Calvary Church parking lot by the dozens and people packed the auditorium, because organizers of this traditional event decided - the show must go on.
"We have a lot of people and we don't want to disappoint anybody," says Dan Lilley, Worship Pastor and "Festival of Lights" visionary at Calvary Church.
Lilley adds that the Calvary Church staff kept a close eye on the weekend weather forecasts, but ultimately decided not to pull the plug on either of Sunday's programs.
"I received a phone call from a few of our other pastors and we talked through the decision to keep "Festival of Lights" going," said Lilley.
Lilley also says Calvary Church does have criteria for canceling events.
"If we have a regular activity, sometimes we do cancel that, like our youth group was canceled this [Sunday] evening because it involves families directly related to Calvary Church." Lilley says. "We have so many people coming from so many places, we just want to keep the doors open for them."
Those attending Sunday's performances were thrilled they weren't canceled.
"We had tickets for a few weeks now," says Joe Fegan from Belmont. "Our neighbor is one of the stars in the show, so we headed on out."
John Huizinga from Wyoming said, "We watched the TV, and there were all the other cancellations, but I hoped this event wasn't one of them."
If you're interested in seeing "Festival of Lights", you'll have to wait until next December. The final two performances of the season were Sunday.
Next year, organizers will look to stretch their non-cancellation streak to 31 years.