Light Up the Park brings holiday brightness to Prophetstown

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PROPHETSTOWN – It was a bright beginning for the first Light Up the Park event at Prophetstown State Park.

The last chance to see the drive-thru holiday light display will be from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

With normal holiday activities affected by ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, the drive-thru format has been a hit with families eager to celebrate the season in new ways, said Bart Dirks of Hanford Insurance Agency, one of the event’s sponsors.

“In a year like this, it gives people something to do and look forward to,” he said.

Dirks credited Prophetstown Police Chief Bruce Franks with the idea and success of this year’s inaugural display at the park. It was his idea and he saw the project through.

The police department’s display has the Grinch behind bars, surrounded by caution tape while blue lights are flashing. It joins more than a dozen other displays of light, sound, and Christmas spirit.

The Prophetstown Main Street group began planning for the event in the fall, and they were able to get it approved at the park campground, which closed at the end of October.

“Being the first year, we weren’t sure what to expect – we never anticipated the turnout that we’ve had,” Dirks said. "After the event wraps up, the Main Street group will have a board meeting to determine what to do with the donations, and whether to plan the event for next year. And like the annual parade, the board will tabulate the votes, with the winners to receive Main Street bucks to use in town."

There's no cost to see the displays, but donations are accepted. Parkgoers can also vote for their favorite display.