New displays, Ice Sculpting Contest and Carousel as well as #onlyinmn monument to be featured this year!
Mankato, MN – The Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club will host the Seventh Annual Kiwanis Holiday Lights November 23 to December 31, 2018 in Mankato’s Sibley Park. Kiwanis Holiday Lights is presented by the Mankato Area Foundation and CHS. The event is free and open to the public, however cash donations will be collected to support the event and its nonprofit volunteers, as well as non-perishable items for the 17 area food shelves that will be participating during the event. Guests can drive or walk through the lights display, and warming houses and concessions will be available each evening. More information and a nightly calendar of events can be found at www.kiwanisholidaylights.com. The event will kick-off on Friday, November 23 at 6 p.m. with a Parade presented by Girl Scouts Mankato Area Service Unit. Santa will wrap up the parade and flip the switch to turn on the lighted displays and trees for a spectacular finish! Hours of operation are Sunday-Thursday, 5 – 9 p.m., Friday & Saturday, 5-10 p.m. (For safety reasons, the park will open to driving traffic at 8 p.m. on opening night).
This year’s event will feature some exciting new additions: • Rides will be offered on a lighted Carousel every night of the event ($2 per person) • The #onlyinmn monument from Explore Minnesota will be on-site through Dec. 12 • An Ice Sculpting Contest will be held for the second year on Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15. Four sculptors will compete for a “People’s Choice Award” that will be presented upon completion of the sculptures on Dec. 15. • Children can drop their letters to Santa in the red mailbox by Santa’s house. All letters will be answered. • Learn to Curl with the Mankato Curling Club on Friday, Dec. 21 at the Mary Dotson Skating Rink.
Other Kiwanis Holiday Lights traditions include: • Free visits with Santa Friday-Sunday nights through Dec. 23 • Ice skating at the Mary Dotson Skating Rink and warming house (bring your own skates) • Horse-Drawn Wagon Rides for $5 per person on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights • Live reindeer • A lighted computer-animated driving and walking tunnel • “Dancing lights” displays computer programmed to holiday music • A 60’ lighted center tree
“We continue to add new attractions and displays each year,” said Scott Wojcik, Kiwanis Holiday Lights President. “Thanks to the continued support of our sponsors and volunteer organizations we’re thrilled to be able to continue this popular holiday tradition into our seventh season,” he said. This year, 88 businesses are participating as cash or in-kind supporters of the event and 76 non-profit organizations will be providing over 12,000 volunteer hours as they assist with set-up, tear-down and running the event each night. Each non-profit group will again display a decorated tree devoted to their organization. For a complete calendar of events and more information, visit www.kiwanisholidaylights.com, “Like” the Kiwanis Holiday Lights Facebook page, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Kiwanis Holiday Lights information line at 507-385-9129.
Historical Statistics for first six years of Kiwanis Holiday Lights: • The event has been 100% volunteer managed and operated. • 905,000 people have attended the event. • 83.4 tons of food has been collected for area food shelves. • $302,000 has been donated to area nonprofit organizations. • 61,518 volunteer hours have been provided by 9,977 individuals. • Over 19,000 children have visited Santa in his workshop. • Over 100 businesses have been involved as volunteers and sponsors.
Kiwanis Holiday Lights was established in 2012 by members of the Mankato Downtown Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis Holiday Lights mission is “Create a celebration of Holiday Lights for the Greater Mankato Area that builds on past traditions and promotes the communities we serve, while raising non-perishable food donations for those in need.” The free event is held each year in Sibley Park in Mankato, MN. Cash and food donations are accepted each night.