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Growing popular every year and well-established as a family tradition since 2010, Mooseheart’s Holiday Lights celebration returns for its ninth annual show with new displays this year. The show will run from Nov. 23-Dec. 31.
Last year, Mooseheart set a record when more than 14,000 cars passed through the displays, 2,000 more than the previous record. One of Chicagoland’s largest holiday light shows, Mooseheart’s Holiday Lights is open from 5-9 p.m. each night and the cost remains $10 per car. One hundred percent of proceeds go to support Mooseheart.
“We’re very excited about the way the show has increased in attendance the last three years,” Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler said. “We’ve seen a significant number of people who’ve made the effort to get to the show, and we’re happy with that.”
The Holiday Lights show includes dozens of lights displays over a 1.8-mile route. Every year, Urwiler said one-third of the displays are changed and others are moved to new positions to keep the show fresh. Whether a visitor is viewing the show for the first time or the ninth time, Urwiler said he wants all to enjoy the experience.
“We love to engage in conversations with as many of those who come through the show as possible,” Urwiler said. “We want them to feel comfortable and to feel welcomed and we want them to feel this is a big deal for us. The conversations that have taken place over the years as people come onto our campus make our hearts happy.”
For six nights this year – Dec. 8-9, 15-16 and 22-23 – the admission price includes not only the Holiday Lights show, but also a chance to see Santa Claus at the Mooseheart Field House. Santa will sit for free photos from 5:30 and the line will be shut at 8:30 p.m., with those in line at 8:30 still allowed to see Santa.
In addition to Santa Claus, the field house will also be a place where children can enjoy a bounce house, crafts, holiday music and even a Christmas cookie.
“We have traditionally had Santa here three nights a weekend,” Urwiler said. “This year, the way the calendar works, we wanted to have him here for three weekends rather than just two, but he will be here on Saturday and Sunday night and not on Friday. We think Dec. 22-23, being closer to Christmas, will result in a higher volume of visitors than we’ve ever seen before for the show.”
For the third straight year, Mooseheart hosts a 5K walk/run the Saturday before the show opens. That race takes place this year on Nov. 17 at 5 p.m. Registration on Nov. 17 from 3:30-4:45 at the Mooseheart Field House. Registration is $20 for children and $40 for adults and proceeds from the event go to Moose Charities.