|Click Photo to Enlarge
Workers put the finishing touches on the displays at the entrance to the Third Annual 2012 Mooseheart Holiday Lights display. The Holiday Lights show runs from 5-9 p.m. every day from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31. The entry fee is still $10 per vehicle.
One of the highlights of this year's Mooseheart Holiday Lights show is a 200-foot light tunnel at the conclusion of the 1.8-mile tour through the century-old campus. There are more than 80 displays in this year's show, which is completely different and more densely packed with displays than the first two years.
MOOSEHEART, Nov. 16 - As Mooseheart prepares for its third annual Holiday Lights celebration, the question of ‘what’s new’ is easy to answer: Everything.
Working with a new company to provide the displays for the festive 1.8-mile lighted tour of the century-old campus, Mooseheart not only has new displays at every turn -- but also more lights, more animated displays and a more innovative use of the campus’ structures than in the previous two years.
What’s stayed the same? The number of open days and the price. The Holiday Lights show runs from 5-9 p.m. every day from Nov. 23 through Dec. 31. The show remains $10 per vehicle, with 3-D classes available to further enhance the show available for $1 per pair. One hundred percent of proceeds go to support Mooseheart Child City & School.
“We advertise that there are over 80 displays, but (this year) there are quite a lot more than 80 displays,” Mooseheart Executive Director Scott Hart said. “It’s going to be a great show. And all the proceeds go to help provide food, clothing and shelter as well as schooling for the children at Mooseheart.”
This year, Mooseheart has contracted with Cicero, IN-based Winter Land, Inc. to provide a fresh look to the show.
“There will be a lot more animation,” Hart said. “I know children - as well as adults - love moving parts. There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the mix.”
Also new this year is a special lighted display at the stately 1929 New York Home, which is near the midpoint of the show. Hart said this show will evolve over a period of years, but that visitors will be able to tune their radios to an FM station and listen to music while the lights go on and off in a choreographed show.
“There are a number of themes to the show this year,” Hart said. “First, there’s an ocean theme and then there’s a candy cane theme. Then we have a penguin village and that’s followed by some heavy equipment. Further from that, we have some reindeer and then we end with a 200-foot solid light tunnel.”
That fully-lit tunnel will have lights flashing in a choreographed display as well, and the tunnel leads to one of the favorite parts of the tour for families - Santa Claus at the Mooseheart Fieldhouse. Santa will be at the Fieldhouse eight nights this year from 5:30-8 p.m.: Dec 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 21, 22 and 23. Children can sit on Santa’s lap and adults can bring cameras and take their own pictures.
“I know families will be circling those dates on the calendar because we have had tremendous turnouts on those dates in the past,” Hart said. “I’ve heard children come into the Fieldhouse and say ‘Santa’s not here’ and look and see him sitting there and say ‘Santa IS here.’ The popularity of the days means you don’t want to come late and be disappointed.”
In addition to Santa, cookies and hot chocolate will be available in the Fieldhouse and there will be activities and games along with a bounce-house for children to enjoy and burn off some energy.
An online coupon is available at www.mooseheart.org offering a discount on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday and Thursday admission. More information can be found either on that website or by calling 630/906-3601.
Since its founding, Mooseheart has operated a complete, accredited kindergarten-through-high-school academic program, plus art, music, vocational training and interscholastic sports. It is an extremely nurturing and student-tailored program, with an average student-teacher ratio of 12-1.
Mooseheart students who complete their studies with a 3.0 GPA or better (4.0=A) are eligible for up to five years of annually renewable scholarship funding, covering tuition, room and board in an amount comparable to that required for an in-state student at an Illinois public university.
Mooseheart is currently home to roughly 200 students, ranging in age from preschoolers to high school seniors. Applications for admission to Mooseheart are considered from any family whose children are, for whatever reason, lacking a stable home environment. Mooseheart boasts its own U.S. Post Office and a fully functioning branch of Fifth Third Bank.
In addition to Mooseheart, Moose International also supports Moosehaven, a 70-acre retirement community near Jacksonville, FL founded in 1922; and conducts more than $70 million worth of community service programs annually.