SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A popular Sioux Falls attraction is a little less jolly tonight.
The 18th annual Winter Wonderland at Falls Park offered visitors more than 25 miles of light strings and hundreds of thousands of LEDs and lights.
“We saw the same historic crowds that we normally do, long lines, constant traffic flow, especially on the weekends,” Park Operations Manager Kelby Mieras said.
“It’s as popular as it was when we first started. People love it. It’s a feel-good thing, it’s a pride thing,” Experience Sioux Falls Executive Director Teri Schmidt said.
Schmidt says the impact of Winter Wonderland extends beyond Falls Park.
“People will go down to Winter Wonderland, drive through the pretty lights on Phillips Avenue, maybe stop and get a burger or something to drink and maybe do some shopping, which is what we want them to do,” Schmidt said.
The City of Sioux Falls doesn’t keep a traffic count during Winter Wonderland, but that’s something Mieras hopes to have in place by next winter. They’ll also tinker with the overall layout.
“We change things up a little bit, not necessarily adding things year to year but we change it up and keep it fresh and I think people like that. We did add a couple new things this year, some gigantic Christmas lights, light bulbs, so those seemed to be a big hit, saw some of that on social media,” Mieras said.
Set up takes a 10-person crew about six weeks. The clean-up doesn’t have the same sense of urgency.
“We won’t dedicate as much of the same crew to it but we’ll take it down piece by piece and we’ve got a couple of months to get it down before spring hits,” Mieras said.
Winter Wonderland officially ended Sunday, but you’ll likely see much of the display still lit up at night until the timers and lights have been disconnected.