RHINELANDER - It will take a lot of work to fill Hodag Park in Rhinelander with up to 50,000 Christmas lights for the first time this winter. But the people planning a holiday lights preview know they're close to making it happen.
The Rhinelander Parks Committee unanimously approved the Lights of the Northwoods plan during its meeting this week. Organizer and group vice president Shawn Will pictures a large display at Hodag Park that people can walk and drive through, similar to Rotary Lights shows in La Crosse and Marshfield.
So far, they've raised about a quarter of the $30,000 they need.
"You hear it in town, you hear it all over the place, so there's a lot of people talking about the lights down at Hodag Park for the holiday season," Will said. "It's really starting to pick up."
Will needs to order lights, design displays, and find major sponsors--upward of $30,000 worth--before the planned mid-December show. If approved, this first season's show would be an example of what the display could become in the future.
"I guess I could do that Clark Griswold thing--'I just want it seen from the sky'--but we could basically light up this whole park. I could see us into the millions of lights," Will said.
Admission to the display would be free, but the group will accept food and cash donations for area food pantries.
The full City Council needs to approve the plan and dates, which are tentatively set for December 14-17, 2017.
You can learn more about the show and how to donate during community meetings at the Hodag Steakhouse on Sunday and next Thursday. The October 1 meeting runs from noon to 3 p.m. The October 5 meeting runs from 6 to 9 p.m.
RHINELANDER - Salvation Army organizations across the country set out their red buckets and bells, including spots right in the Northwoods.
However, the local Mincoqua, Tomahawk and Rhinelander Salvation Armies are short of volunteers in the coming week.
Kettle Coordinator Kim Swisher said that last year, Rhinelander's Salvation Army surpassed their goal of $40,000 with help from volunteers. So this year, the organization is amping up the goal after raising $52,000 in 2018.
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