The Kiwanis Holiday Lights Board of Directors is pleased to announce $60,000 will again be donated to the 84 non-profit organizations that assisted with the event this past year. “Although attendance and donations were down this year due to several rainy nights as well as some bitterly cold weather, we’re able to again donate $60,000 to the nonprofits that helped us this year,” said Scott Wojcik, Kiwanis Holiday Lights president. “We’ve really worked hard to manage our finances in order to plan for years when traffic is down due to weather. That’s helped us make sure we can still give back a substantial amount to the groups that help us out,” he said.
New additions were a rotating merry-go-round display, a hot air balloon featuring a life flame, additional songs in the “dancing lights” area and a three-night live ice sculpting event that culminated with the creation of a lighted sculpture of “The Sibley Park Ice Dragon.” As has been typical of the growth of the event each year, even more lighted trees were added to the event.
The event was completely volunteer-driven and lasted 37 nights, or a total of 165+ hours of operation.
Additional statistics include:
- Over 165,000 people attended the free event in 2016. (Mild weather helped account for 180,000 visitors in 2015).
- $60,000 will be donated back to the non-profit groups that assisted with set-up, tear-down and evening volunteer help during the event. ($60,000 in 2015, $50,000 in 2014, $40,000 in 2013 and $30,000 in 2012). Remaining proceeds will go to help offset expenses and to improve the event in future years.
- 84 non-profit groups participated, providing 12,089 volunteer hours with 1,735 volunteers participating. Funds will be dispersed to the non-profit participants based on a formula that includes volunteer assistance with set-up, tear-down and nightly operations. Participating non-profit groups also received a tree that they could decorate along the walking path.
- For the third year, visitors were encouraged to vote on their favorite non-profit tree this year. Winners were;
- 1st place – Open Door Health Center received a $300 prize
- 2nd Place – BENCHS received a $150 prize
- 3rd Place – One Bright Star received a $50 prize
- Over 4,500 children visited Santa and each received a free book courtesy of Capstone
- 51 Greater Mankato businesses participated as cash sponsors, showing continued support for the annual event
- An additional 35 businesses participated as in-kind sponsors
- 5 tons of food was collected by 20 area food shelves
- The opening night parade was presented by the Mankato Area Derby Girls. The winner of the $500 float contest was Anthony Ford Fund.
- Over 1.35 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
- Four live reindeer were again on display for the duration of the event.
- The opening parade and lighting ceremony for the 2017 Kiwanis Holiday Lights season will be November 24, 2017.
5-YEAR TOTALS FOR KIWANIS HOLIDAY LIGHTS
70.5 tons of food has been collected for area food shelves
$240,000 has been donated to the non-profits who have provided volunteers
Over 600,000 people have visited the event to date