Rotary Winter Wonderland Celebrates Successful Year

Spencer Fire Department volunteers at Rotary Winter Wonderland.

Rotary Winter Wonderland Achieves Milestone, Commends Volunteers

Despite the weather not cooperating this year, Rotary Winter Wonderland collected 45,000 canned good and $56,000 to help support local food pantries.

Rotary also achieved an exciting milestone, surpassing the 500,000 mark for food donations. If laid end to end, this amount of donations would stretch over 31 miles.

“These are amazing donation totals in light of what mother nature threw at us this year,” said Al Nystrom, Project Coordinator. “Our volunteers and guests braved the rain, snow, ice storms and a week of subzero weather to help those in need.  We could not be more grateful to all those who supported our mission on many nights that it would have been easier to stay home.”

Nystrom added that 2016 was one of Rotary Winter Wonderland’s finest years. “We heard many guests tell us that the light display just keeps getting better every year,” he said. “Operations ran smoothly and we were able to stay open every night of the season. The donation results were phenomenal.”

From beginning to end, volunteers were key to the project’s success.

“We had great volunteers in numbers and work for both set up and during the show,” said Dale Smith, Chairman. “That was a great help to make the project a success.”

“We had phenomenal numbers of volunteers for setup and for staffing the park this year – thank you to all who gave of their time to support this project!” added Jenny King, Volunteer Coordinator. “We appreciate volunteers for light set up, take down and repairs/design in the off season.”

Rotary is currently seeking individuals to join the leadership team, which helps organize volunteers, finds and schedules entertainment events at the park, and assists the Build and Design committee.

“We are highly dependent on a small group of organizers that have been together for eleven years,” said Nystrom. “The project will not survive long-term if we do not add fresh leaders to our group. At the park, we are already talking about adding some special events and attractions to keep the display fresh.”

Whether seeking to join a committee or to provide hands-on help, those interested can contact Rotary at [email protected].

Take-down dates are January 14 , 21 and 28, beginning at 8:00am and continuing through the morning hours.

Along with volunteers, Nystrom would also like to publicly thank the Zoo Staff for being such gracious hosts, particularly Zookeeper Steve Burns and Ben Steinbach.

“We also appreciate the working relationship with Justin Casperson and his Parks and Recreation Department,” he said. “They have been outstanding partners.”