Dashing Through the Snow, Driving Through the Park

Irvine Park Christmas Village opens Thanksgiving night

Abigail Bostwick, photos by Andrea Paulseth

Though the weather outside might be frightful, the lights will still be delightful. One of the Chippewa Valley’s favorite festive traditions – the Christmas Village at Chippewa Falls’ Irvine Park – will deck the halls for its 33rd anniversary. The Christmas Village will be open daily starting Thanksgiving Day, when the lights will be on 5 to 9:30pm. After that, the Christmas Village will light up every day from 7am to 9:30pm, and it will be open to both vehicles and visitors on foot. On Christmas Eve, the display will stay open until midnight. The last chance to see these mesmerizing lights will be Jan. 1. Due to the pandemic, some activities will not take place, including the Run for the Lights, horse-drawn wagon rides, and walk-only nights. “It takes about 10 weeks to set up the village,” said Dick Hebert, the city’s Parks, Recreation, and Forestry director. There will be approximately 300 to 400 volunteers this year, and thousands of volunteers have helped over the course of the event’s 33 years. “Everyone has a reason why the Christmas Village is important to them,” Hebert said. “‘There (are) a plethora of reasons why the village means so much to individuals and families.” The village has more than 100,000 lights and 200 painted plywood displays. Every year it draws in new viewers and returning visitors. The event is free, though donations are appreciated.