Lights in Motion twinkling again in Sleepy Eye

Staff photos by Clay Schuldt Sleepy Eye’s Sportsman’s Park was transformed into a holiday wonderland this weekend for the opening of the annual Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion.

SLEEPY EYE — Sportsman’s Park once again became a winter wonderland during the opening weekend of Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights In Motion.

This is the ninth year of Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion. Each year, Sportsman’s Park is decorated with 360,000 holiday lights. The entire light program is organized by a non-profit organization and the public is free to tour the lights free of charge, though donations are accepted.

Thanksgiving night was the official start for Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights In Motion. The lights will remain up through New Year’s Day and will be turned on from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. each day.

Each weekend will feature special activities sponsored by various local organizations.

This Saturday was the seasonal kickoff, called “Light the Night” with the Sleepy Eye Chamber promoting the events in the park. Sleepy Eye Chamber Executive Director Christina Andres said it took support from a lot of organizations to keep the lights going. Members of the Sleepy Eye Fire Department were helping direct traffic into the park. Other organizations sponsoring the night included Chuck Spaeth Ford, Haala Industries, Kibble Equipment, Schutz Family Foods and Sleepy Eye Senior Living Community. Each weekend will see a new set of sponsors and each weekend the snack shack concessions will take donations benefiting an area organization.

Photo by Clay Schuldt The Light the Night seasonal opener for Sleepy Eye’s Holiday Lights in Motion program featured horse-drawn carriage rides through the park.

For the first weekend, there was no drive-thru traffic. Visitors wishing to see the lights entered on foot. Once inside the park, guests Mayorwere free to enjoy the lights at their leisure. They could visit the snack shack for refreshments, meet with Santa Claus or even take a horse-drawn carriage ride through the park. The tractor or hay wagon-style rides can be reserved online.

Holiday Lights in Motion (HLM) committee co-chair Mike Suess estimated that this year it took between 25 and 30 volunteers to set up the lights. The more volunteers available, the more they can expand the light display.

Suess said next year will be the 10th anniversary of HLM and they are hoping to go big for this milestone, but extra volunteer help will be needed. Anyone comfortable going up in a bucket truck to hang lights would be helpful.

Suess said on the overall goal of the program was to keep HLM free of charge. Free will donations, sponsorships and volunteers have made that possible for the last nine years.

Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights In Motion runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. every night through New Year’s

For more information visit http://www.sleepyeyeonline.com/holidaylights/


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