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Willow Glen Holiday Lights “Light-O” & Potluck Social

Date: (Sat.) Dec. 16, 2023
Location: San Jose, CA
Event Director: - 650.302.4835
Course Setters: Jeff Lanam, Brad Wetmore
Type: C; Evening Score-O course to enjoy the neighborhood holiday lights, followed by a potluck social & awarding of the 2023 BAOC Service Award

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

We hope that you can clear your schedule and come out and join us for the Thirteenth Annual Holiday Lights Score-O on Saturday, December 16th. Bring your children, parents, co-workers and friends! This is the perfect event to start off your Holidays.

This traditional Holiday event in Willow Glen will be our final event in 2023. In addition to a Score-O course based on Holiday Lights (and decorations), there will be the usual social potluck afterwards, and a brief award ceremony to announce the recipient of the 2023 BAOC Service Award.

Nancy Lindeman is the Event Director for the event (i.e., for the course logistics and the potluck social). Brad Wetmore and Jeff Lanam are Course Setters.

This event will be a nighttime Score-O, in which every control is a location decorated with festive lights. You can walk a course with family, or run or walk it by yourself or with a friend. Flashlights and headlamps are optional, but are strongly recommended. We also recommend that you wear light and/or 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 6:00 PM, or you can get an individual start any time between 6:05 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! Please be sure to check in after you complete your course.

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 previous years.)

Plan to stay after you finish if you want, and socialize at the annual BAOC potluck social. It’s a potluck, so please bring something to share! To help coordinate the potluck, there is a sign-up form (linked below) as was done in previous years. Please look at the current sign-up list so that we don’t have 50 salads and no desserts. 😉

Note: This year the sign-up form is also used to help us know how many maps to print, so please complete the form even if you will not be participating in the potluck.

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 2023 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).

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 with our map.

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

Event Schedule

Here is the event schedule:

5:00 PM – Event Center opens for registration and beginner clinics
5:30 PM – Maps handed out to each team
5:55 PM – Course Setters brief competitors in parking lot before the mass start
6:00 PMMass start
6:05–6:15 PM – Individual starts for late comers
7:30 PM – Festivities begin (potluck social and award ceremony)
7:45 PM – Course closes
8:15 PM – Course results announced
8:50 PM – Cleanup begins (please help)
9:00 PM – Event ends, building closes

Willow Glen Holiday Lights


Advance registration is strongly encouraged, especially for groups. It will help us better plan for the event if you would use this sign-up form ( (in addition to registering for the course). Thanks. (Please use that sign-up form even if you’re not staying for the potluck, or are not bringing anything to the potluck, so we can know how many maps to print.)

In addition to the sign-up form (which only records your intentions), you will need to complete your course registration either at the event or online (as described below).

The course fees will be as follows:

Adult:  $15 each
Junior:  $5 each
Team: $25 maximum
Notes: A Junior is 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, 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. Groups of 7 or more, please let us know ahead of time if you are coming so we can be sure to have enough maps.

Optional Online Registration

Online registration has closed, but you can still register at the event.

  • Online registration is not required — you can register at the event.
  • You can see who is registered here ( (but keep in mind that others will register at the event).

Health Safety

In order to minimize close contacts regarding COVID-19, flu, and RSV, on-site registration (including questionnaire and map pickup) and course Start and Finish will be outside the building. Also, we’ll try to spread out as much as possible inside the building.

If you are concerned about crowds, you can register in advance online, and you can skip the potluck social event. Then there would be no need for you to go into the building.

Course, Map, Rules

When you register at the event, your registration name(s) will be added to a questionnaire sheet that you will use on the course. This ensures that we can match questionnaires to registrations in case anybody is missing later on. The questionnaire and a map will be given to each person or team. Additional maps might be available for other team members if the supply of maps will allow for that.

After you start, you will have 60 or 90 minutes to find as many controls marked on the map, in any order. (You do not need to declare in advance which time period you are doing. You can decide while you’re on the course.) When you finish, indicate whether you were on the 60- or 90-minute 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. However, do not take any shortcuts through private property.

The course will be a Score-O. 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

Most controls are worth 10 points each, but some controls are worth more. Be careful​ — ​if you get an answer wrong, you lose 30 points (so don’t guess any answers). If you return late, you lose 10 points for each minute or fraction of a minute that you are late (i.e., over the 60- or 90-minute period).

When you arrive at a house marked as a control on your map, verify that you have the right address, which can be found near the front door, on the garage, on the curb, on a mailbox, or on a post near the sidewalk or driveway, and then circle the correct question for that house (for example, “Who is flying the airplane? A–Santa, B–Grinch, C–Snowman”. If the answer is “Santa”, circle that answer.) If you circle two answers by mistake, you must specify which one you believe is correct, or we will mark the question as wrong. If a house is not lit, and you cannot see enough to answer the question, mark a “?” in the “?” column next to the “A” column. If others have done the same as you, you will get credit for that house (we will verify houses with lights turned off).

Points are awarded or deducted as follows:

  10 points per control with two-digit numbers on the map
  30 points per control with three-digit numbers on the map
–10 points for each minute or fraction of a minute that you return late
–30 points for each wrong answer


Bring running or walking shoes, hat, pencil or pen, headlamp or flashlight, and whatever else will be comfortable for running or walking in high-50s/low-60s weather. If you have a cell phone, it’s good to bring it in case of an emergency (the event center phone number is on the questionnaire).

We recommend reflective clothing for safety, if you have it. The event center has restrooms 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).

Important Comments

Safety is all important. You will be crossing many streets, and car drivers will be looking at holiday decorations, not for runners. Please wear reflective or very light-colored clothing to make it easier for drivers to see you. Always assume that the drivers do not see you, and wait for all cars to go by before crossing a street. Crossing at corners or at marked crosswalks is safest — but still look both ways. You have to judge when it is safe to cross, and you take full responsibility for your safety. Never take a chance that puts your life or the lives of others at risk.

You can run alone or go with a team, and the team can include pets if you are in full control of your leashed pet. Teams must stay together​ — members cannot split up to find controls separately.

Stay off of private property. If a decoration has been blown down, leave it as found​ — it is best to let the owners take care of their own decorations.

When you finish, be sure to indicate the course that you did (i.e., 60- or 90-minute)​ — otherwise, the person doing results will decide for you, and that might not work out the best for you. Also, if you marked two answers for the same question, indicate your desired answer to the results person, or the question will be marked wrong (30-point penalty).

Don’t forget to stay afterwards for the potluck, award ceremony, and course results.

Willow Glen Holiday Lights

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 bring any serving utensils that are needed for your dish.

Please use the sign-up form below to indicate what you’ll be bringing. (This is a really easy registration of name, type of food you are planning to bring, and the number of maps you want.) This is not a commitment, and it is not required, but it does help us plan the amount of dinner plates, plastic ware, and cups to bring, and the number of maps to print. 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 cutlery, plates, cups, napkins, and hot and cold drinks (we’ll offer hot tea, and hot and cold cider). It would be great if you bring your own cutlery, plates, and cups to eliminate waste. (Please note that alcohol is not allowed on the campus.)

We’ll have burners/hotplates available if you need to heat up anything for the potluck. Please reserve a hotplate via the sign-up form above (they are first come, first served).


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

Driving Directions

Willow Glen Elementary School is the corner of Lincoln Ave and Minnesota Ave in San Jose. The address is 1425 Lincoln Ave, San Jose, CA 95125.

The approximate coordinates at the school are 37.3028,-121.8978.

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 (enter through a gate shortly before you get to Lincoln), 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 right 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 (enter through a gate shortly after crossing Lincoln), but there is plenty of street parking nearby.