Light up the Bayou

Sunset Hills Elementary PTA - Tarpon Springs, Florida

Final day to order ONLINE is 12-21-2024 at 9pm.

Orders can be placed in person on the day of the event.

Questions: lightupthebayou@gmail.com

Online Order Form 2024


The Story:

In the fall of 1986, students at Sunset Hills Elementary School planned a project for the Pinellas County Schools Economics Fair. The project was to earn money by selling bags to local businesses as a form of advertisement. The bags would carry the company name and for a fee (cost is now $3.50), the bags would then be placed around the Spring Bayou and lit on Christmas Eve. With Tarpon Springs’ large Greek population, the name " Lambatha " was substituted for luminary. " Light up the Bayou " became the motto. The project was accepted by the school principal, the Mayor of Tarpon Springs, the City Manager, and the Fire Chief. The city of Tarpon Springs offered to supply the sand for the bags, and continues to supply the sand to this day. The project went forward on Christmas Eve 1986, and the community of Tarpon Springs experienced the first Lambatha display. The project won a second place award at the Economics Fair. In addition, the city was so impressed with the display that they asked Sunset Hills Elementary to continue the project. Now this event is part of Tarpon Springs' official city calendar. The Sunset Hills PTA now oversees this event as it has grown to over 3,000 bags! This Christmas Eve 2024 will mark our 39th year of Lighting up the Bayou!

How Does it Work:

Lambatha bags are your special way to celebrate the spirit of the season or acknowledge a loved one. You fill out the form below. You may purchase as many or as few as you would like and even do multiple messages. Examples could include " Happy Holidays " or " Seasons Greetings " to someone special. You can also honor someone by writing, " In Memory Of. " Your bags will be completed and placed at the Bayou for display on Christmas Eve by 6:00 p.m. (In case of inclement weather, rescheduled date is 12/30). Volunteers are welcome and needed on Christmas Eve Day beginning at 10 a.m. Please stop by the Bayou to help whenever you can. Please contact us for details. It is a great opportunity for high school volunteer’s credit hours and possible program donation.