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Winter Festival of Lights shines

WHEELING, W.Va. – Hundreds of thousands of people have already made the trip to Wheeling to see the lights so far this holiday season.

The 28th annual Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay Park is a community tradition. Karen Knoyer is a spokesperson for the park and was a guest on Wednesday’s MetroNews Talkline. She said preparations for the event got underway this summer.

“In September, about 20 people on that staff, that’s all they do, they’re up in the trees putting lights on, putting displays up, lighting the buildings,” according to Knoyer. “So it’s quite an endeavor to get this all together.”

No one has ever actually counted, but Knoyer estimated there are at least a million LED lights that make up 70 displays scattered across 300 acres of park. The newest lights include two woodpeckers in a tree.

Knoyer said you can go to almost any community and see a Christmas light show but the Winter Festival of Lights is one of a kind.

“I think what sets our show apart is the fact we light our landscape. We have some up lighting on the trees. We put strings of lights in the trees,” explained Knoyer. “We also light our historic buildings. So it’s not just the light displays when you come to the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay.”

This year, each car is asked to donate $20. However, if you don’t have the money, Knoyer stressed you are still welcome to come and visit.

You can see the lights every day starting at dusk. Sunday through Thursday they’re on until at least 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.

The final night of the Winter Festival of Lights is January 5th. Knoyer said that’s when the real work begins.

“Almost every light display is taken down every year. The staff will check out the displays, make sure all the wiring is fine and then replace any burnt out bulbs and fix anything that might be wrong with it. We want to make sure that they look great for the following year,” stressed Knoyer.

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