By Lindsay Doty
Taking a slow drive (or two) through Danville’s Winterland Holiday Light Show at Ellis Park is a holiday favorite for hundreds of families from Hendricks County and beyond.
The impressive drive-thru display is a partnership between the Greater Danville Chamber of Commerce and the Danville Parks and Recreation Department. An army of around 500 people put it all together starting with the town employees who string up the lights.
“We usually start planning in July and we start to physically work the day after Thanksgiving,” Will Lacey, director of Danville Parks and Recreation, said.
During the season, local volunteers help run the event.
“We tell the drivers to turn the radio on (the display is synced to music) and give them a candy cane,” Steve Johnson, a retired Danville teacher and coach who volunteers every year with his wife Susan, said. “You have business people and families come through. You have nursing homes bringing patients through. It’s a wonderful situation for the town.”
Winterland is made up of millions of lights and fun arrangements like the fishing penguins and the colorful Santa train.
“My favorite is the animated tunnel. It reminds me of Star Wars,” Lacey said.
The Kiwanis Club of Danville will run the Santa House where guests can visit to snap a pic with the man in red on the weekends.
“The whole thing is very rewarding. It gets you into the Christmas spirit,” Johnson said.
Winterland will be lit for the first time after the Christmas on the Square “Light up Danville” event in downtown Danville on Nov. 29.
That event will have all kinds of holiday traditions including Santa, Mrs. Claus, carolers, live nativity, trackless train rides, a new inflatable obstacle course, cookies and hot chocolate. Santa and his special guest will flip the switch on the giant Christmas Tree and canopy around the square on the courthouse lawn at 6 p.m.
What: Winterland Holiday Light Show
Where: Ellis Park
600 E. Main St., Danville
When: Runs every night November 29 through December 30 (Closed Christmas Day)
Sunday-Thursday 6- 9 p.m.
Friday & Saturdays 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $10 per car Friday, Saturday, Sunday
$5 per car on Monday-Thursday