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Top Reasons to Attend Kiwanis Holiday Lights

Top Reasons to Attend Kiwanis Holiday Lights

Whether you walk or drive through this winter wonderland, here are  the top reasons to attend Kiwanis Holiday Lights.

Kiwanis Holiday Lights

Lights, Lights and More Lights
Every year from the end of November to December 31, Sibley Park in Mankato becomes festively aglow with animated lights displays, featuring more than one million LED lights. See everything from beautifully-lit trees, beloved characters, choreographed-to-music lights and lighted tunnels. Marvel at the lights from the cozy warmth of your vehicle or choose to brave the chilly winter air by walking through the park; either way, the sight is a gorgeous one to behold. For its fifth year, Kiwanis Holiday Lights added another 200,000 lights, bringing the grant total to 1.5 million lights. A lighted train, a lighted rotating carousel and a display with fire are the newest displays of the holiday spectacle.

Kiwanis Holiday LightsA Wondrous Parade of Lights
Kick off the Kiwanis Holiday Lights season with the annual Opening Night Parade. Grab a cup of hot cocoa, bring your lawn chair and snuggle up with a blanket as you watch the lighted floats pass by. The route starts at the intersection of Mound Ave and Rogers Street and makes its way on Mound Ave into Sibley Park. Stay to watch the lighting ceremony, where 1.5 million LED lights instantly turn on in the park. It’s also the first opportunity of the season to visit Santa, see the live reindeer and skate on the synthetic ice rink.


Kiwanis Holiday LightsSkating Under the Lights
Regardless of the weather, the Mary Dotson Skating Rink has been one of the featured attractions at Kiwanis Holiday lights since 2013. It is named after Mary Katherine Dotson, a resident of West Mankato who maintained a skating rink across from her family home for more than 50 years and brought wintertime fun to many generations of neighborhood children. People of all ages bring their own skates to glide across this state-of-the-art synthetic rink under the shimmering lights, no matter the temperature. If you need to take the chilly edge off, the warming house next to the rink will be open every night during event hours for skating.

Kiwanis Holiday LightsMore than Just Lights
If the weather is frightfully chilly, come into the expanded concessions area, where warmth will greet you as soon as you step indoors. The Giving Barn, located in the farm-themed playground area at Sibley Park, is another comfortably-warm place that has been renovated to accommodate musical groups performing on weekends throughout the Kiwanis Holiday Lights season.
In the spirit of the most wonderful time of the year, Kiwanis Holiday Lights is a free event to attend, but cash donations are encouraged and are given to the non-profits that make it successful. Approximately $60,000 is donated back to the non-profit groups that assist with set up, tear down and evening help during the event. Food items are donated to area food shelves. In 2015, 14 tons was collected by 15 area food shelves.

Kiwanis Holiday LightsDistinctly Decorated Trees
Visitors of Kiwanis Holiday Lights can spread the holiday cheer by voting for their favorite decorated tree. Each non-profit organization that helps with Kiwanis Holiday Lights gets the opportunity to put their creativity to the test. Event goers can cast a vote for their favorite or the most imaginative tree using the ballot boxes located along the Candy Cane path. At the end of the season, the top three trees are awarded a cash prize.


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