The Kiwanis Holiday Lights Board of Directors is pleased to announce final numbers for the 2014 (third) season of Kiwanis Holiday Lights, which was again presented by the Mankato Area Foundation and CHS. New additions were a non-profit tree decorating contest, an expanded “dancing lights” area, a large lighted nativity display, an animated display showing elves throwing a snowball and a lighted Santa’s sleigh and reindeer that was suspended over the driving path. Additional lighted trees and many more decorated non-profit trees were also new to the event this season.
The event was completely volunteer-driven and lasted 34 nights, or a total of 145+ hours of operation. Additional statistics include:
- $50,000 will be donated back to the 82 non-profits that assisted with setup, tear-down and evening volunteer help during the event. ($40,000 in 2013). Remaining proceeds will go to help offset expenses and improve the 2015 event.
- 82 non-profit groups participated, providing 9,000 volunteer hours, with 1,592 volunteers participating (of that, 290 volunteers were student athletes from MSU, Bethany and Gustavus). Funds will be dispersed to the non-profit participants based on a formula that includes volunteer assistance with setup, tear-down and nightly operations. Participating non-profit groups also received a tree that they could decorate along the walking path.
- For the first time, visitors were encouraged to vote on their favorite nonprofit tree this year. Winners were;
- 1st place – Mankato Ballet $300 prize
- 2nd Place – MRCI $ 150 prize
- 3rd Place – Mankato Area Derby Girls $50
- 61 Greater Mankato businesses participated as cash sponsors, showing continued support for the annual event
- An additional 33 businesses participated as in-kind sponsors • Over 165,000 people attended the free event in 2014, which included greatly increased walking traffic due to the mild temperatures.
- 14.1 tons of food was collected by 15 area food shelves
- The opening night parade was presented for the third consecutive year by the Greater Mankato Young Professionals. The winner of the $500 float contest was the Twin Valley Council Cub Scouts Pack #76.
- Over one million energy-efficient LED lights glowed brightly throughout the event, with the electricity costing less than $50 a night!
- Thirty one area restaurants donated food to help feed the volunteers during the event, as well as during set-up and tear-down
- A volunteer Santa took requests in his workshop from little ones FridaySunday nights, totaling over 4,000 individual visits with children
- Four live reindeer were again on display from Thanksgiving until Dec. 24.
- The opening parade and lighting ceremony for the 2015 Kiwanis Holiday Lights season will be November 27, 2015.
- Non-profit organizations that provided the required number of volunteer hours will be invited to participate again in 2015. There is a waiting list for additional non-profits. Interested participants should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be considered for future years.