RHINELANDER - This year the city of Rhinelander wanted to create a whole new experience by transforming Hodag Park into the "Lights of the Northwoods." "You can always follow but you can't always be the first one's," said Lights of the Northwoods Vice President Shawn Will. Will, will always remember this week as the time he was trailblazer. "Our grand community event," said Will.
Since he was a child he traveled to other communities to enjoy the magic of the holidays. "Now the kids can come to this park and see what we're doing here," said Will.
Will wanted a different experience for his kids and brought some magic to their hometown. "Yea now we don't have to travel anymore!" said Will excitedly. More than 50 volunteers worked all weekend to create something the city of Rhinelander has never seen before.
The La Crosse Rotary Lights Display inspired the members of the Lights of the Northwoods organization. "It's something that needed to be done at this park this park is underutilized," said volunteer Terri Thompson. Twelve non- profit organizations sponsored more than 32 light displays at Hodag Park. Some lights came from the original La Crosse lighting show. "I'm part of the beginning of something that hopefully will become extraordinary. I know it will be," said Thompson.
Thompson volunteered to join something she believes will change the city forever. "This just brings it to life year round," said Thompson.
At Thursday's ribbon cutting families will see Hodag Park lit with more than 50 thousand Christmas lights. But for Will this first light show is just the beginning. "This is just a preview of what we hope this can become," said Will. Lights of the Northwoods is free. The event runs from Dec.14th through Dec. 17 th. Canned Food donations are encouraged.
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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