ALCOLA – The snow may not be glistening in the lane just yet, but planning is underway for the 4th Annual Christmas Wonderland at Redbank Valley Municipal Park in Alcola.
Park manager Tyler Weaver said that local businesses, churches, clubs, organizations, youth and school groups, families and individuals — actually, anyone — is encouraged to set up a small Christmas light display at the park’s drive-through event, which will be held three weekends in December.
“Anyone who likes Christmas and who want to put up a display can do so,” Weaver said. “It’s a great opportunity to support the park and to advertise your business or group.”
There is no cost to set up a display, Weaver said, noting that displays don’t have to be elaborate in order to contribute to the overall display at the park. And, he said, all you have to do it set it up and take it down — park employees will take care of turning the lights on each night.
Those who wish to set up a display can do so anytime during November. Weaver said displays should be in place by Dec. 3 or 4, as opening night is Friday, Dec. 7.
The Wonderland will be open to the public Dec. 7-8, Dec. 14-15, and Dec. 21-22 from 5:30 to 9 p.m. nightly. The cost is a $5 donation per car.
Weaver said he is hoping to have more participants for the light display this year. Already, he said, the New Bethlehem Eagles, Moose and VFW clubs have said they will compete with one another to see who can set up the best display.
In addition to the drive-through light display, Weaver said local churches, school groups or any community organization is welcome to hold other events at the park, either for fun or as a fundraiser for the group. From living nativities, to Christmas plays to caroling or other events, Weaver said he’s hopeful more people will take part this year.
“Each one of those nights there’s an opportunity,” he said. “I’d like so that every night there’s something going on.”
He said he hopes that school groups, sports teams, bands and choirs will be able to take part this year.
“People can drive around and see the lights, then stop at the barns for the programs,” he said, suggesting that some groups may wish to sell hot chocolate or other goodies to the guests.
Weaver has even extended an invitation to Santa Claus to visit, noting that some group may want to offer photos with Santa as a fundraiser.
This year’s event has a special purpose, Weaver explained, in that proceeds from the Wonderland will go toward the park’s plans to install a splash pad for area children.
“We want to use the money for something for the kids,” he said, noting that plans and designs have already been created for the splash pad, and he is also in the process of applying for a grant to help fund the project.
Weaver also noted that the Wonderland is open to anyone, regardless if they live in the Redbank Valley or not. He said anyone is welcome to set up a light display, regardless of where they live or where their business is located.
And leading up to the event, Weaver said the park will host a holiday craft show in the skating rink on Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information or to set up a light display or make arrangements for other events, contact the park at (814) 365-5924.