Fantasy of Lights Set To Open Nov. 22

Local News
When the Christmas spirit is in the air in Evansville, the annual Fantasy of Lights display in Garvin Park is right around the corner. It’s one of Easter Seals biggest fundraisers of the year. Today volunteers started setting up.
The Fantasy of Lights has been a staple in Garvin Park for 22 years. This year, there are a couple of new figures in the zoo display. With those additions, Easter Seals officials say this year’s show is the largest in the event’s history. They say it’s those behind the scenes who deserve all the credit. 

Today’s necessary accessory is a tool belt. Why? To help brighten your holidays.

“If we would volunteer our time and give of ourselves, we wouldn’t need government regulations to force us to do,” volunteer Jamie Neal said. “We have to do a heart check, you have to do it here.”

More than a 100 volunteers packed Garvin Park in Evansville to set up Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights.

“I like to keep quiet,” Neal said. “I don’t like people to know that I’m involved with it because the best charity is done in secret. However when you see someone enjoying the work that you’ve put in, it definitely is heartwarming to say the least.”

This display brings in more than $100,000 every year to Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center.

“If we have an exceptional year we would actually reach a total of $3 million that’s been raised for therapy since the very first year,” Easter Seals Marketing Director Pam Kirk said.

Volunteers use more than 350,000 light bulbs. This year, the “Magical Mile of Holiday Lights,” will be using less energy. Instead of regular bulbs, some are LED.

“They last a lot longer and two it’s better on the environment and more energy efficient,” electrician Matt Mullen said.

For Matt Mullen, the three weekends leading up to thanksgiving, he spends setting up and connecting power to the 62 exhibits.

“There’s an electrician or two down here every evening to turn the lights on and make sure all the lights are good and everything’s up and running and then at night turn all the lights back off,” he said.

But the hard work, is all worth while.

“When the kids are hanging out the windows and pointing and taking pictures and that’s definitely what makes it worth it, that’s for sure,” Mullen said.

Mullen says it’s worth it for the smiles on the faces of people passing by.

You can get a preview of the display on Sunday November 22nd after Evansville’s Christmas on North Main Parade. The display will officially open on Thanksgiving and continue through January 3rd. 

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