A year ago, when Kiwanis Holiday Lights officials reluctantly canceled the popular Sibley Park lights display, some of the feedback they got was, well, less than cordial.
“We took it personally because people were personally reaching out to us and saying pretty nasty stuff about us,” said Scott Wojcik, president of Kiwanis Holiday Lights, “about things that we didn’t have control over.”
This year, after a one-year hiatus, Kiwanis Holiday Lights is back.
And Wojcik wants everyone to know — especially the naysayers — that he and everyone else behind Kiwanis Holiday Lights is doing everything in their power to make it the best iteration of the display yet.
Kiwanis Holiday Lights kicks off 6 p.m. Friday with its traditional parade (complete with Santa plugging in the lights at 7 p.m.).
This year’s display includes 22 new illuminated features, including “Santa’s Whoville House,” 32 new lighted snowmen, a new animated walking tunnel and a giant illuminated present people can walk through.
At a media event Tuesday, Wojcik led onlookers through the displays, pointing out details on some, and unsuspected surprises on others. There are still a few tweaks and fixes to be made.
“Looks like I’m going to be busy until Friday,” he said. “You may not see it, but we see the little details. And we want to make sure that this park is perfect before Friday happens.”
Wojcik said they expect between 150,000 and 175,000 people to come through Sibley Park for Kiwanis Holiday Lights this season.
“People, since we’ve started this event, really look forward to coming down to Sibley Park,” he said. “And you don’t recognize that until you take a year off and cancel the event.”
Kiwanis Holiday Lights is open until Dec. 31 from 5-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Food and monetary donations will be collected each night for one of a variety of food shelves participating.