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Record attendance and donations result in largest donation to nonprofit organizations to date

The Kiwanis Holiday Lights Board of Directors is pleased to announce $60,000 will be donated to the non-profit organizations that assisted with the event in 2015. Mild weather and attendance figures topping 180,000 people contributed to increased donations from visitors during the event’s fourth-annual season.

Kiwanis Holiday Lights is an annual event presented by the Mankato Area Foundation and CHS and is held in Sibley Park in Mankato, MN. New additions were an Old Man Winter animated display, a much taller center tree, an expanded “dancing lights” area and a three-night live ice sculpting event presented by CHS that culminated with the creation of a lighted sculpture of Old Man Winter. Even more lighted trees and additional displays were also new to the event.

  • The event was completely volunteer-driven and lasted 35 nights, or a total of 150+ hours of operation. Additional statistics include: Over 180,000 people attended the free event in 2015 (165,000 in 2014), which included greatly increased walking traffic due to the extremely mild temperatures.

  • $60,000 will be donated back to the non-profit groups that assisted with set-up, tear-down and evening volunteer help during the event. ($50,000 in 2014, $40,000 in 2013 and $30,000 in 2012). Remaining proceeds will go to help offset expenses and to improve the event in future years.

  • 94 non-profit groups participated, providing 10,700 volunteer hours with 1,850 volunteers participating. Funds will be dispersed to the non-profit participants based on a formula that includes volunteer assistance with set-up, tear-down and nightly operations. Participating nonprofit groups also received a tree that they could decorate along the walking path.

  • For the second year visitors were encouraged to vote on their favorite non-profit tree this year. Winners were;

    • 1st place – North Mankato Fireman’s Relief Association received a $300 prize

    • 2nd Place – LEEP received a $150 prize

    • 3rd Place –One Bright Star received a $50 prize

  • Over 4,000 children visited Santa and each received a free book courtesy of Capstone

  • 56 Greater Mankato businesses participated as cash sponsors, showing continued support for the annual event

  • An additional 33 businesses participated as in-kind sponsors

  • 14 tons of food was collected by 15 area food shelves

  • The opening night parade was presented by the Mankato Area Derby Girls. The winner of the $500 float contest was Girl Scout Troop 34494.

  • Over 1.25 million energy-efficient LED lights glowed brightly throughout the event, with the electricity costing less than $50 a night!

  • Thirty six area restaurants donated food to help feed the volunteers during the event, as well as during set-up and tear-down

  • Four live reindeer were on display for the duration of the event.

  • The opening parade and lighting ceremony for the 2016 Kiwanis Holiday Lights season will be November 25, 2016.

  • Non-profit organizations that provided the required number of volunteer hours will be invited to participate again in 2016. There is a waiting list for additional non-profits. Interested participants should send an email to to be considered for future years.


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