By Hub City Times staff
Marshfield’s Rotary Winter Wonderland holiday light display is back for a 12th year. The annual attraction makes its seasonal debut Friday, Nov. 24 at 5 p.m.
Organizer Dennis Boucher says the Winter Wonderland is used each year to restock the shelves at area food pantries.
“We’ve been giving out food to almost 30 food pantries around the Marshfield area, not just here in town, but Mosinee, Pittsville, Stratford, Granton; a lot of surrounding smaller communities get food from Rotary Winter Wonderland, as well,” Boucher said. “Last year, I think we took in over 50,000 items of food – it was 15,000 for St. Vincent de Paul food pantry, 15,000 for Soup or Socks, $5,000 for United Way (Nutrition on Weekends), and then to all of the small food pantries around the area, they all get $200. Whatever they don’t get from us in food, if they are missing things like… all of the sudden we are out of baby food or something like that, they have the money to go ahead and buy those items.”
The price of admission to the annual light and display show is a non-perishable food item or a cash donation.
Organizer Al Nystrom says the lights are provided through community and corporate donations.
“We are very fortunate that we have an excellent base of financial sponsors to help us pay for the majority of the costs, but those lights are expensive and we couldn’t do it without the support of businesses in the area. There are many of them, but Marshfield Clinic has been the lead giver for us every year at the $15,000 level and then a large number of other businesses support us with either in-kind or cash donations,” Nystrom said.
“That covers most of what we need to do business, and to be open every year, and what that really allows us to do is to offer this without admission charges to the community. (It) also allows us to take any cash gifts that we collect at the gate and share that with the food pantries as well.
“Each year, at the end of the year, if we have money left over after operating costs, we write a check to the local pantries and that number has been $40,000 each of the last three years.”
The holiday display is open nightly from 5-9 p.m. between Black Friday and New Year’s Eve. New this season is Gingerbread Jamz, featuring live music in the new Gingerbread House from 6-8 p.m. Horse-drawn carriage rides will be available Saturdays during Rotary Winter Wonderland.
For more information, visit rotarywinterwonderland.com or check out their Facebook page.