TUPPER LAKE - A Luminary Prayer Ceremony for Colin Gillis will take place Friday night, one of at least two events scheduled to raise money for the family of the still-missing 18-year-old from Tupper Lake.
The Colin Gillis Fund, set up through Community Bank, will also get proceeds from a comedy show by Dan Viola that had already been scheduled for April 28. The money will go to support the Gillis family through their search for their son.
Gillis went missing 12 days ago after leaving a party on foot. He is believed to have last been seen at about 1:45 a.m. Sunday, March 11, on state Route 3 near the line between Franklin and St. Lawrence counties, where Tupper Lake meets Piercefield. An extensive search last week turned up little.
The Luminary Prayer Ceremony replaces a hoped-for event featuring "sky lanterns," paper lanterns with candles that make them soar into the air. That event, which would have been Wednesday night, was canceled after the state Department of Environmental Conservation deemed it a fire hazard at this time of year. But the DEC has approved the Luminary Prayer Ceremony, according to Tupper Lake Events Coordinator Faith Bedore.
A luminary is a paper bag with a candle placed in sand inside the bag. Luminary bags were donated for Friday's event by Relay for Life and Mattoon's Sunflour Bakery.
The event will take place in the grandstands of the ball field at the Tupper Lake Municipal Park. People are asked to show up between 8 and 9 p.m. to buy luminaries (sometimes called "luminaria" in plural) and write their prayer(s) on them. Luminaries will cost $5 each, with all proceeds going to the Colin Gillis Fund. Volunteers will be on hand to light the luminaries.
At 9 p.m. the ball field lights will be turned off and there will be a moment of silence. The lights will remain off until 9:30. People are asked to bring flashlights to get around the bleachers safely while the lights are off.
The Dan Viola comedy show on April 28 has been rededicated to the Colin Gillis Fund, with proceeds going to it. Viola focuses on thinking "outside of the gutter" and draws on his experiences as a husband, father of seven children, game show host, teacher, coach and salesman. Tickets cost $10 in advance or $13 at the door. the show starts at 7 p.m. at the former Holy Ghost Academy, 40 Marion St.
Outside of these events, donations may be made to the Colin Gillis Fund at either Community Bank branch in Tupper Lake or by mailing a check to the Colin Gillis Fund, Community Bank, Attn: Gail, 75 Park St., Tupper Lake, NY 12986.