This week in our series ‘Home for the Holidays’ we’re showing you what makes our area a great place to spend the Christmas season. Tonight, Erin O’Brien explains how one Christmas light display in Tomah grew so big it needed to find a new home.
For more than a decade the Tomah Holiday Lights have brightened the community.
The Tomah Rotary Club began the tradition in 2003 at nearby Gillett Park. Setup for this year’s event, now in Winnebago Park, began in late October.
“The amount of time that it takes to get the lights set up properly, to wrap the trees that we do as well as running all the electrical that we need to do it takes several weeks to get things synchronized for us so things come on when they’re supposed to and that it’s organized.”
This is just the third year that the lights have been held here at Winnebago Park. The group had to move it here as the event got bigger each year and as they focused more on collecting food for the local food pantry.
With a new focus on feeding the hungry, the lights committee asks that the public bring donations for the Neighbor for Neighbor Food Pantry in Tomah.
And, besides just the change in location and the addition of a food drive, they’ve also switched entirely to LED lights and added more lights each year.
“I think what’s really great is young and old all come here and smile and it’s happy. And if you look across the lake towards Winnebago Park we’ll get all kinds of comments on how beautiful it is. And it just makes the whole season so much brighter and special to people.”
And even after thirteen years of lighting up Tomah, the committee still wants to see it improve.
“We’re going to continue to grow this thing, it’s a work in progress on our committee’s end and we’re just happy to be able to do something to give back to the community and brighten up Winnebago Park and brighten up the City of Tomah with the holiday lights. “
In Tomah, Erin O’Brien, Fox 25/48 News at Nine.
The Tomah Holiday Lights run every night through New Year’s Eve. Donations for the local food pantry are collected Thursday through Sunday nights. Fox 25/48’s Erin O’Brien will continue her Home for the Holidays features tomorrow night.