The Oshkosh Celebration of Lights (COL) is celebrating 14 years of holiday displays to collect food items for local food pantries. The event is open Nov. 24 to Dec. 31 from 5-9 p.m. for $8 per vehicle. Visitors who donate nonperishable food items will receive $1 off admission.
Each year about 13,000 cars drive through Menominee Park, which is covered in one mile of holiday displays decorated in more than a half million lights.
Leon Thompson, Celebration of Lights chairperson and Friends of Oshkosh Parks president, said there will be new additions to the event this year, including 60,000 LED lights added to displays, a tunnel over the bridge and a snowfall tree display.
"It's a low-cost activity for the whole family," Thompson said. "It is an inexpensive holiday activity for families to enjoy."
Visitors will also have the option to walk the grounds wearing a flashing light for $1 per person.
Thompson said this event's success depends on year-round planning and more than 150 volunteers from the entrance hut to Santa's Workshop each year.
"We're trying to keep this growing each year, but without donations, we can't," Thompson said. "Once [people] visit the park, they will see it is worthwhile."
Visitors can look forward to holiday displays, such as the 100-foot tree, sculptured scenes, animated light displays and more. There are also activities for children, including Santa's Workshop, visiting with Santa's reindeer, the Elves' Hideout, and horse and carriage rides.
Local food pantries that benefit from the event include:
- Oshkosh Area Community Pantry
- Omro Community Food Pantry
- Emmanuel United Church of Christ
- World Outreach Center
- Father Carr's Place 2B Food Bank
- Salvation Army
- His Church
- Christine Ann Center
- Cerebral Palsy of Mideast Wisconsin
- Lutheran Pantry
- St. Jude the Apostle People's Pantry
The Celebration of Lights would like to thank the following sponsors: USBank, Silver Star Brands, American Family Insurance, Fox Communities Credit Union, John E. Kuenzl Foundation Inc., Provident Financial Consultants LLC, CR Meyer, Community First Credit Union, Lakeside Animal Hospital, Graphic Point Printing & Web Design Studio, Beez Electric Inc., 4imprint, The Exclusive Company, Jim's Golf Cars & Utility Vehicles, Festival Foods, Nolte's Auto Service & 24 Hour Towing, Pepsi, Oshkosh Rotary Southwest, Winnebago Home Builders Association and Wisconsin Public Service.
# # #
Oshkosh Celebration of Lights
Oshkosh Celebration of Lights supports the Oshkosh community with an annual food drive through holiday displays, including more than a half million Christmas lights spread over one mile of Menominee Park. Since 2001, attendees have donated about 100 tons of nonperishable food items that have been given to local pantries in the Oshkosh area. Food pantries are selected by United Way.
For more information on the Celebration of Lights or if you'd like to volunteer this year, call (920) 303-9200 or email OshkoshCOL@yahoo.com.