Rotary Winter Wonderland completed its most successful weekend in 13 years.
Winter-warm temperatures attracted big crowds to the holiday light display at Wildwood Park & Zoo last weekend. A total of 12,100 food items were donated Friday, Saturday and Sunday (Dec. 14-16).
Cash donations were 33% higher than is typical for this time of year. The light display saw its best Friday ever for donations and set single-day records on Saturday with 6,802 food items.
That’s an average of 27 cans of food every minute, said finance chairman Al Nystrom.
“We saw this coming, so we put out a call for ‘all hands on deck’ to process the donations,” he said. “We had a great line-up of events, snow on the ground to make everything shine, dry roads and comfortable weather to enjoy a walk in the park.”
So far, the 13th season of lights has brought in over 34,000 food items which will benefit nearly 30 food pantries, including Soup or Socks and St. Vincent de Paul in Marshfield.
“The displays are working well, thanks to the tireless efforts of our ‘Elves.’ Many guests have commented on the new look of our Central Display,” said Nystrom. “Our visitors have been generous, operations are running smoothly, and the food pantries are very grateful.”
Rotary Winter Wonderland is open 5-9 p.m. every day until December 31 and features 1,500,000 LED lights, live music (Wed-Sun. 6-8), Santa visits, and horse-drawn carriage rides. Admission is free, but unexpired food items or cash donations are appreciated to fulfill the mission of the lights.
“We are on track to exceed our goals for food and cash donations, and hopefully by a wide margin,” Nystrom said. “The pantries need every can of food and dollar we can raise, so we are counting on our guests’ continued support.”