Wonderland in Lights opens Thanksgiving

Experience Wonderland in Lights in a whole new way this year.

For the first time, the City of Effingham Convention & Visitors Bureau is opening Wonderland in Lights for a walk-thru event on Wednesday, Nov. 24, from 4 to 9 p.m. This event is free to the public, but donations are welcome.

For one night only, the Wonderland in Lights will close to all vehicles and offer visitors an opportunity to get up close with the larger-than-life light displays. View the displays at your own leisure, enjoy Christmas music by Marty Williamson and Bill Poss, and wave hello to Santa Claus when you reach the end of the walk.

Complimentary refreshments of hot cocoa and cookies will be available fireside as well. Coffee and popcorn in variety of flavors will be available for purchase. Keep an eye out for familiar characters like the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, Buddy the Elf and more.

A golden ticket will be given to children who visit the lights while supplies last. Ticket holders can redeem these tickets at the end of the walk for a special gift, courtesy of the First Responders Children’s Foundation Toy Express, and handed out by the City of Effingham Police Department.

Parking will be limited so consider using the free shuttle. The shuttle will run continuously from 5 to 9 p.m. and will pick up and drop off at the Effingham County Museum parking lot.

Masks and social distancing are encouraged.

The display officially opens Thanksgiving night, Nov. 25, and runs through the New Year. Hours are from 5 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday.

Each year Community Park is transformed into a wintry spectacle. Wonderland in Lights, a drive-thru light display, features a variety of whimsical holiday scenes, including reindeer flight school, Santa and his reindeer taking flight, a Nativity scene, a Gingerbread house and more. To help get you in the Christmas spirit, the Effingham CVB, along with 97.9 XFM and KJ Country 102.3, bring you the option to tune into continuous Christmas music on 90.7 FM while you drive through the display.

Santa visits the Wonderland in Lights every Saturday from Thanksgiving through Dec. 18 to bring special presents to children. The Wonderland in Lights is free, but donations are appreciated.

Community Park is located on East Temple Avenue in Effingham.

To extend the festivities, head to downtown Effingham to view the larger-than-life 3-D holiday light displays on the Effingham County Museum lawn.

Drive by the glittering “Star,” the “Royal Present,” the “Heart of Christmas” walk-thru ornament, “Santa’s Sleigh and His Reindeer,” the new walk-thru “Gingerbread House” and, the star of the show — a 34-foot Christmas tree.

For more information, call the Effingham Tourism Office at 217-342-5310 or visit www.visiteffinghamil.com.

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