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Willow Glen Holiday Lights

Date: (Sat.) Dec. 13, 2014
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 408.313.3753
Course Setters: Brad Wetmore, Tony Pinkham
Type: C; 60- or 90-minute Light-O (Score-O) course and potluck social

Please note that fees and time limits apply. Events are typically not canceled due to bad weather.

Late Notes

Bring Your E-punch Stick to Willow Glen

Why, you may ask? Well, you won't need it for the Light-O; bring a pencil and a headlamp for that. But if you have your own E-punch stick, and it is not one of the oldest generation (SI-5), it can be personalized.
Jeff plans to have a laptop with a download station set up, so that you can put your name and other information on your E-punch. SI-5 cards have numbers under 500,000. All later ones have some space for owner information.
Jeff hasn't got the download station yet, so he can't guarantee that this will happen. But while you're digging out your headlamp, grab your E-punch, too.


Just in case you are thinking of bringing a team to the holiday lights event in Saturday, be aware that there will be prizes for the largest team of paying human participants that complete each course. There will also be prizes for the top finishers on each course. The prizes include compasses, water bottles, and Orienteering USA pins. You must be present at the dinner (whether you eat or not) to win. Scores based on points, with ties broken by time on the course. Depending on team sizes, there might be a limit on the quantity of prizes. See you Saturday night!

We hope that you can clear your schedule and come out and join us for the sixth annual Willow Glen Holiday Lights Score-O on Saturday, December 13.

Willow Glen is busy setting up countless holiday light displays for this event. There are streets with decorative themes (white sidewalk arches on one street, gigantic ice crystals over another street, huge colored tear drops along another street, and huge reindeer pulling a sleigh down yet another street). There are dancing Santas, mischievous elves, docile reindeer, vicious snowmen, frightening abominable snowmen, tempting candy canes, dangling icicles, shining stars, decorated trees, and interesting displays for more than one type of holiday. You might even see a caravan of bicyclists lit up with holiday lights, a horse-drawn carriage, or groups of carolers. Like last year, there will be a lit orienteering control somewhere on the course​—​BAOC will make our presence known. Of course, Willow Glen doesn't do all this just for our event, but our Night-O event enables you to enjoy all this with friends and family before sharing lots of comfort food at our annual potluck social. If you attend the social, you'll also find out who will be named BAOC Service Award recipient for 2014.

This event will be a nighttime Score-O, in which every control is a house decorated with festive lights. You can walk a course with family, or run it by yourself or with a friend. Flashlights and headlamps are optional, but recommended. We also strongly recommend that you wear reflective clothing so that car drivers will be sure to see you. Make your outing as easy or as hard as you want. You decide how many, and which, controls you want to find in either 60 or 90 minutes. You can start in the mass start at 5:45 PM, or you can get an individual start any time between 5:50 and 6:15. You can go by yourself or with a group. Just remember to get back on time, because there are penalties for being late!

There will be prizes at this year's event. We will announce the prizes later, but you can bet that there will be prizes for teams and single competitors alike. Some prizes will be for superhuman performance, and others will be for sharing the event with friends, family, and first-timer orienteers.

Bring a flashlight or headlamp, and a pencil (preferred) or pen to mark your control answers. Runners, walkers, families, scouts, neighbors​—​everyone is invited.

The event will be held at the cafeteria of the Willow Glen Elementary School, on the corner of Lincoln Ave and Minnesota Ave in San Jose (see the directions below). (This is the same location as in the previous years.)

Plan to stay after you finish, and socialize at the annual BAOC potluck social and award ceremony. It's a potluck, so please bring something to share! Following dinner, this year's recipient of the BAOC Service Award will be announced. In addition to the BAOC Service Award ceremony, "Professor" Peter Graube will be demonstrating Water Play, a unique way to explain math using water. This was very popular last year.

Get your shopping done early, invite your friends, co-workers, neighbors, house guests, and family, and let's enjoy the last BAOC event of the 2014 season, and celebrate another great year of orienteering! This is definitely a child and stroller friendly event (as long as there are adults on hand to watch over the children on the course).

Event schedule

5:00 PM – Building opens: Registration begins (self registration will be available for BAOC members)
5:30 PM – Map distribution
5:45 PMMass start
5:50 PM – Individual starts open
6:15 PM – Registration and individual starts close
7:30 PM – Potluck begins (approximate time)
7:45 PM – Course closes for late starters
8:00 PM – Service Award presentation
9:00 PM – Building is closed


Advance registration is not required, but it will help us plan for the event if you would use this sign-up form ( Thanks.

The course fees will be as follows:

    Member entry fee, first person         Adult $10    Junior $5
    Non-member entry fee, first person     Adult $15    Junior $5
    Each additional person                 Adult $5     Junior $3
    Family                                 $20 max.
    Notes:  A Junior is defined as anyone age 8 through 20.
            Children under 8 accompanying parents or youth group leaders are free.

This would be a good event to invite your friends, your child's friends, your relatives, your neighbors, house guests, or co-workers to try orienteering. Of course they'll miss the thrill of our steep hills, and muddy fields and trails, at this event, but you could break them in gradually.

Scout, JROTC, and school groups are welcome of course. Large groups should divide into groups of 5 or fewer to go on their course.

Map and Course

The map is at 1:15000 scale with 5-foot contours. There are some interesting street patterns and opportunities for off-street navigation in quite a few of the blocks​—​some parkland, schools, and passageways are sprinkled about the map.

The course will be Score-O format. Choose your time​—​60 or 90 minutes​—​and dash around the Willow Glen neighborhood to discover the answers to as many control questions as you can. Controls will be "environmental", such as:

At house #456, how many reindeer are on the roof?
A – 3           B – 8           C – 9

There will be beginner clinics if requested, but if you can find your way around with a street map, you should be able to navigate around Willow Glen.

Initial Course Setters' Comments

The course setters have finished scouting control locations, and the recent rain hasn't hampered the decorating at all. The weather forecast for Saturday is clear skies. (Please see the Course Setter's Notes for full details.)

With that said, strange things are afoot in Willow Glen this year. There are times when an orienteer will swear that a control has sprouted legs and has started walking around the competition area. Or maybe the Icelandic Yule Lads ( have added a new member: translated loosely as "Control Mover." Maybe there is a Sailing Stone ( equivalent for Orienteering control markers?

Regardless of which phenomenon you believe, if you are able to catch the mobile control, you will be rewarded. But it will take a little planning, as the control will be in a well-defined area and visible only from 6–7 PM.

Good luck. And if you run into Pottaskefill (Pot-Scraper) while out on your course, please do not tell him about the BAOC potluck following our Holiday Lights event.


Running shoes and shorts should be fine, but you may want warmer clothing depending on the weather. We recommend reflective clothing for safety, if you have it. The event center has bathrooms where you can change.

Please bring a pencil (preferred) or pen to mark your answers, and bring a headlamp or flashlight​—​although Willow Glen is brightly lit in spots, you will need a headlamp or flashlight! Bring a watch or other time-keeping device to make sure you get back on time (keep in mind that there is a penalty for returning late).


We could use a few volunteers to help with starts, finishes, and scoring (you'll also be able to run the course). Please contact if you can help.

Potluck Social

Everyone will be hungry after going out on the Light-O course.

If you want to join in on the potluck, we encourage you to bring a dish to share with others. You can make something special, or buy something at a nearby grocery store. What you bring is up to you. We welcome entrees, side dishes, salads, desserts, etc. If you need some ideas of dishes to make, see this site ( (thanks goes to Trinka Gillis for this link). Be sure to include serving utensils needed for your dish.

Please use the sign-up form ( to indicate what you'll be bringing. (This is a really easy registration of name, number of maps, and types of food that you are planning to bring.) This is not a commitment and it is not required, but it does help us plan the number of maps to print and the amount of dinner plates, plastic ware, and cups to bring. It also helps others decide what to bring based on what you and others plan to bring. It's okay if you don't decide in advance.

BAOC will be providing the utensils, plates, cups, napkins, and hot and cold drinks. (We'll offer hot tea, and hot and cold cider.) Many of you probably will bring your own utensils, plates, and cups to eliminate waste. (Please note that alcohol is not allowed on the campus.)

We hope to see many of you out there ... rain or shine!

Driving Directions

From I-880 or Hwy 17, take I-280 towards downtown San Jose (South/East). Exit at Meridian Ave. South. Proceed 0.9 miles and turn left (east) onto Minnesota Ave. After 0.9 miles, the school will be on the right, at the corner with Lincoln Ave. There is limited parking on the school grounds, but there is plenty of street parking nearby.

From I-680 or Hwy 101, take I-280 towards downtown San Jose (North/West). Take the Bird Ave exit (it's a long exit​—​follow the signs to Bird Ave). Turn left onto Bird Ave. After 1.2 miles, turn left onto Minnesota Ave. After 0.4 miles you will cross Lincoln Ave, and the school will be on your left. There is limited parking on the school grounds, but there is plenty of street parking nearby.

There's a map here that shows the location of the event. (Drag the map to center San Jose, and then click on the "+" symbol to zoom in.)