Keep It Local – Ritzy’s Fantasy of Lights

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Last night, I was able to check something off my bucket list and help a good cause in the process. Win, Win! I toured the Easter Seals’ Fantasy of Lights at Garvin Park. Now I know everyone is thinking, “Really Missy? The display is up every year.” Yes it is. But it is rarely as stunning as it is right now with the recent snowfall. It was a goal of mine to see the lights amid a blanket of snow, but Mother Nature refused to cooperate. Until now…

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Santa & I are probably the only two people loving all this snow.

While the recent winter storm delighted snow lovers such as myself, it buried one of the most important fundraisers for Easter Seals. Between the snow covered roads and having one less week to showcase the display, admission fees were $24,000 behind the normal pace as of last night. Since I couldn’t call on Mother Nature & Father Time to cooperate, I reached out to everyone I knew and made plans to go see the “magical mile of lights” myself. The thought of tri-state children not being able to receive the therapies they so desperately needed touched my heart. (Did I mention I used to teach special ed?)

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Entryway to the display – The tunnel is gorgeous!

Upon arriving, I was greeted by lots of smiling volunteers’ faces. Yep, it’s staffed primarily by volunteers. Last night’s generous spirits were the University of Evansville Acettes. They were so excited to be helping out, despite the frigid temps. They gave me info on this year’s display and made sure I knew there were sixty-two (62!) displays this year, including a new Jack in the Box. They also pointed out that the famous wreath arch was now equipped with LED lights. I thanked them for their cheer and traveled the loop, holiday music cranked up and hot chocolate in my cup holder. 

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University of Evansville Acettes braved the frigid temps to volunteer.

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The wreath arch now features LED bulbs. My camera does not do it justice.

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The lights twinkling on the snow add a extra dose of cheer.

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Santa’s watching you from the beginning of the tour.

One thing I know is that the Tri-State is filled with caring, generous people. I am encouraging my fellow tri-staters to take a trip through the display this year and experience the holiday spirit in abundance, while helping the children who count on Easter Seals. Cost to drive through is just $7 for up to six people in a vehicle. Admission for vehicles with 7-14 people is $10 and admission for vehicles with 15 people or more is $25. Horse-drawn carriage rides are available nightly (weather permitting) for $30, which includes admission. It runs through New Year’s Day, but I encourage everyone to go while there is snow on the ground for extra shimmer.

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My personal favorite – The Wizard of Oz in honor of the 75th anniversary!

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Would love to hear any and all thoughts!

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