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Through the first third of its 2020 run, there is one certainty about Mooseheart’s 11th Annual Holiday Lights Show: It is popular at an unprecedented level.
Every night since the show began on Nov. 27, cars have poured through the campus entrance on Route 31 just north of North Aurora to see the hundreds of lighted displays that line the 1.8-mile show route – including 1,500 cars that viewed the show on Saturday, Dec. 5.
“We’re seeing three times the number of visitors we’ve had in the past on some nights. Admittance to the show is on an upswing when compared to any previous year,” Mooseheart Executive Director Gary Urwiler said.
Urwiler said many factors can be attributed to the increase in visitors to the show, starting with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many searching for safe activities in which to participate.
“People are looking for an activity they can do with their family and they can be safe,” Urwiler said. “Although the pandemic has created some challenges, it has been beneficial to our show. We have put into action a plan that honors the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines and still maintains the holiday spirit.”
Another reason Mooseheart’s show is popular this year is the fact that its returning visitor base has grown every year. While many displays have become fixtures in the show, the positioning of those displays changes every year and there are always new displays to discover, even for returning guests.
“We have people still coming in who say it’s their first time through the show and they’re excited. We’re seeing significant growth compared to recent years and we want to say ‘thank you’ to the area communities for supporting our show,” Urwiler said.
Urwiler also cautioned travelers on Illinois Route 31 near Mooseheart to be prepared for some traffic and for show patrons to have patience.
“Traffic and safety are always a concern,” he said. “We want people to exercise caution when coming to the show and to be mindful that there are cars exiting the show while they are trying to enter campus to see the show.”
Mooseheart’s Holiday Lights show runs every night from 5-9 p.m. through New Year’s Eve. A suggested donation of $20 is requested – but visitors are encouraged to come and enjoy the show and give what they can. All proceeds from the show benefit Mooseheart.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular Santa Claus evenings have been canceled this year. However, anyone who wishes to mail a letter to the North Pole can do so from a special Tommy Moose Mailbox – and delivery to Santa is guaranteed.
Mooseheart is located 2 miles north of I-88 on the west side of Illinois Route 31.