2022 Kiwanis Holiday Lights drew 175K - Yahoo News

Feb. 1—MANKATO — The total number of attendees at Mankato's annual Kiwanis Holiday Lights extravaganza has now topped 1.5 million since the event's 2012 founding, nearly matching the 1.8 million lights

in the display at Sibley Park.

The most recent festival, despite losing two nights to extreme weather, managed to raise nearly $80,000 for area non-profits and draw 175,000 attendees, according to the Kiwanis Holiday Lights Board of Directors.

"Year 10 was very successful in our eyes, even with us having to close two nights because of weather," event President Scott Wojcik said in a press release announcing the final stats Wednesday. "The generosity of the visitors to Kiwanis Holiday Lights never ceases to amaze us."

The $77,000 raised this season is down only $4,000 from 2021's total. Attendance topped 175,000 in 2022 compared to more than 200,000 the previous year.

Free to the public, the event remains completely volunteer-driven. Set-up was done in 10 days over five weekends prior to the Nov. 25 opening, and the take-down was accomplished in just three days in early January following the Holiday Lights' Dec. 31 finale. The 2,600 volunteers provided a combined 14,400 hours of service.

The $77,000 will be divided among 67 organizations that assisted with set-up, tear-down and evening volunteer help during the event. Another 54 Mankato area businesses were cash sponsors. Proceeds not distributed to the organizations providing volunteers are used to help offset expenses and improve the event in future years.

The participating non-profits were also allowed to decorate a tree along the walking path with visitors voting on their favorites. The 1st Place winner this year was Mankato West Vex Robotics ($300 prize), followed by a two-way tie for 2nd Place between Mankato Area Youth Baseball Association and One Bright Star ($150 each).

Other final numbers from the 2022 Kiwanis Holiday Lights include:

—Over 3,000 children visited Santa.

—Eight tons of food was collected for 16 area food shelves.

—The display included more than 1.8 million energy-efficient LED lights.

—31 area restaurants donated food to help feed the volunteers during the event, as well as during set-up and tear-down.

Since the inaugural Kiwanis Holiday Lights in 2012, including a 2020 cancelation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 129 tons of food has been collected for area food shelves; $590,000 has been donated to the non-profits providing volunteers; more than 1.5 million attendees have seen the display; more than 18,000 volunteers from over 115 nonprofit organizations have participated; and more than 165 businesses have supported the event in some form.

Those looking forward to the 2023 event have 295 days to wait. The opening parade and lighting ceremony for the 2023 Kiwanis Holiday Lights season is set for Nov. 24.

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