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Chillicothe News - Chillicothe, MO
  • Simpson Park ready for opening night

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  • The holiday lights and displays are all in place for Chillicothe's Festival of Lights in Simpson Park, which opens this Saturday, Nov. 17.
    
    The event begins at 5:30 p.m., with the lighting, and continues until 7:30 p.m., with horse-drawn sleigh rides, hot chocolate and cider, and a visit with Santa.
    The Festival of Lights is a drive-through display of Christmas lights and decorations open each night beginning Saturday, and continuing through Jan. 1, 2013. Traffic was counted in 2011 before and during Festival of Lights. The results showed an increase in traffic of one third at the Washington St. entrance when the Festival of Lights is open, according to Barb Burton, Festival of Lights Committee spokeswoman.
    Among new displays this year is a group of carolers and a whimsical dog, made possible through memorial contributions for Fred Stephens and Charles Benedict.
    "The Festival of Lights appreciates those who choose to honor their loved ones through the designation of Festival of Lights as a memorial," Burton said.
    Another addition to this year's display is the lighting of the popular rocket slide at the park.
    "The rocket slide is sporting a beautiful coat of holiday lights for the first time this season, thanks to the efforts of Darin Newman and Scott Neil (Illuminations by Newman) and Jim Hinrichs, Festival of Lights committee member," Burton said. The lights were purchased with funds donated by the public. Rope lighting — lights encased in a plastic tube — was fastened to the outside of the structure so no light bulbs are exposed. The slide portion does not have lights.
    Donations are appreciated, and may be dropped in the donation box in the park or mailed to Festival of Lights, P.O. Box 1032, Chillicothe.
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