Marshfield Rotary Winter Wonderland closes another season
By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield’s annual holiday light display has gone dark for another season. Longtime volunteer Dennis Boucher threw the switch for the final time on New Year’s Eve, one of the slowest nights of the year for the Rotary Winter Wonderland display in Wildwood Park featuring more than 1.5 million lights.
“It’s real normal for New Year’s Eve, because most people have already seen it before Christmas, unless they have family in town or just haven’t been able to get here,” he said.
The holiday light display is used each year to collect donations for 30 area food pantries in central Wisconsin. Boucher said donations had eclipsed the 57,000 in the final hours of operation on Jan. 31.
“It’s been a real good year I think – anything over 50,000 is a good year. If it gets over 60,000 it’s a great year,” he said. “We are almost going to be up to 58,000 by the end of (New Year’s Eve), so it should be real good.”
The Rotary display enjoyed its single-biggest food donation night on Dec. 15, when 6,800 came in, 4,700 items came in on Dec. 8, and 4,300 donations were collected on the Saturday before Christmas.
“There are over 30 food pantries and the out-of-town food pantries we give 20 banana boxes to, and there are roughly 40-50 items in each box,” Boucher explained. “Then, the in-town ones get up to 20 boxes as well, and Soup or Socks and St. Vincent’s gets the majority of it, because they are the biggest two and that is where most people go for food.”
Organizers have also estimated that the holiday light display collected about $78,000.
The Rotary Winter Wonderland has provided over a half million food items since its inception in 2006.
Volunteers are needed later this month to take down the lights. Take-down dates have yet to be determined, and depend on the weather. For more information, visit www.rotarywinterwonderland.com.