NEW BETHLEHEM — Having had success the past two holiday seasons, Redbank Valley Municipal Park is gearing up for its 3rd Annual Christmas Wonderland drive-through light display this December.
Businesses, community and church groups, youth and school groups and individuals are now being recruited to sign up to set up a display at the park this year.
“We had a great year last year with lots of different displays,” park manager Tyler Weaver said. “People really enjoyed it. We had more than 350 carloads of people visit last year.”
“I think this year is going to be bigger, our best year yet,” he added.
Weaver said businesses and other groups can use the displays to advertise, and the displays can range from a small lit Christmas tree and a sign, to a more elaborate light display.
“Whatever you want to do, it’s up to you,” he said, noting there is no cost to participate. “This is a thank you to our sponsors and the people in our community.”
While Weaver said the Wonderland isn’t on the same scale as other large drive-through light displays such as the one held in Butler last year and the Oglebay Resort Festival of Lights, he has hopes that the local attraction can continue to grow each year.
The display will be open the first three Fridays and Saturdays in December, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The dates include Dec. 1-2, Dec. 8-9 and Dec. 15-16.
Admission will be $5 per vehicle, with proceeds benefiting the park.
In addition to the light displays, this year will feature a Living Nativity on Saturday, Dec. 2 presented by St. Nicholas Catholic Church.
Weaver said he expects a number of the businesses and groups that took part last year to also provide displays this year, and he has already heard from new groups wishing to set up displays this year. And, he noted, there’s still time left to sign up. Those interested should call the park office as soon as possible at (814) 365-5924 and leave a message.
Last year, Weaver noted, many groups set up their displays the last week in November. He also explained that after set up, the business or group does not need to come to the park each night to turn on the lights; that will be done by park workers.
“The park is providing a place and the electric for lights, as well as advertising for the event,” he said. “We will take care of turning on and off displays, so you do not have to be there the nights we are open.”
Weaver also noted that while the displays don’t have to be a fundraiser for the organizations that set them up, the opportunity is there.
This year, Weaver said, he would like to invite local student groups, sports teams, school clubs, as well as additional church and community groups to take part. Local businesses are also being sought to help make the event even bigger. Individuals who just like to decorate for the holidays are also invited to pitch in to bring more lights and attractions to the park.
“Anyone can put up a display,” he said.