Thousands take in magical displays at 20th annual WPS Garden of Lights

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) — A dazzling light display spanning back 20 years is once again shining bright in Green Bay this holiday season.

For the past 8 years, the Beard family kicks off the holiday season by taking a walk through WPS Garden of Lights.

“I think we just heard about it through the grapevine, through some friends and decided to check it out and have been coming back ever since,” said Brandon Beard, father of 3.

Although the Beards come back every year, they never see the same show twice.

“Every year there’s always a new light feature. We always change-up the light feature locations,” said Eileen Metzler, special events manager for Green Bay Botanical Garden. “We are always changing up our trail and our pathway of what we are doing and we are always making improvements for the event.”

Madelyn Beard, along with her cousin, is excited for the new displays.

“I like that they are in different shapes and that they have like different designs,” said Madelyn.

“I saw on the news there was new stuff here, so I was really excited to see the new stuff,” said Anabelle Bryne.

But they are also excited to see something a little more familiar

“It’s like a tunnel that is shaped like a caterpillar and you go in it,” said Madelyn.

“It’s really pretty,” said five-year-old Ava Beard.

“I am also excited for those butterfly things,” said six-year-old Henry Bryne.

The dazzling displays don’t only attract families every year, but volunteers as well.

“I would say just probably 10 years, maybe it’s more,” said Darlene Charneski, a volunteer. “You see many familiar faces. It’s like once you volunteer you pretty much stay with it because it’s a very fun and special time.”

Charneski will spend every Friday and Saturday night at WPS Garden of Lights until Christmas because she said it’s kind of a tradition for herself as well.

“You do things that you enjoy,” said Charneski.

Charneski is just one of about 50 volunteers who make displays like the WPS Garden of Lights happen every year. It’s because of them that families, like the Beard family, get to kick off their holiday season with a spark.

“As long as they keep volunteering and putting up the lights, we will keep coming back every year,” said Beard.

WPS Garden of Lights will be on display from 5:00-9:00 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until December 23. It is closed December 24 and 25, but then it opens back up until December 30.

Cost of walking tour: Adults (13 & up) – $9, children (3-12) – $5, children (2 & under) – Free.

Cost of horse-drawn wagon tour: Adults (13 & up) – $14, children (3-12) – $10, children (2 & under)- Free.

For more information about the event visit www.gbbg.org.

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