Volunteers needed to help wind up light strings next couple weekends—an indoor job. Outside work also available for the hardy volunteer!

Each year just keeps getting better for Sleepy Eye’s Holiday Lights in Motion—this, the fourth year, has been the busiest yet. So busy that project coordinator, Shari Hittesdorf, hasn’t had time to add up all the numbers.

Hittesdorf estimates that more than 1,000 people went on the horse and carriage rides this year. “We had the trolley six nights, all sponsored by local businesses,” she said. “I’d guess 1,000 people rode, maybe even more like 1,300.” 

Hittesdorf said the various groups that operated the concession stand on weekend nights also did very well.

No doubt the nice weather—only the final days had frigid conditions—contributed to a very fun season for Holiday Lights in Motion. A couple of windy nights did a little damage, according to Mike Suess, co-coordinator. “I stop out here a lot to check on things,” said Suess on Dec. 23, the last night of the concession stand and carriage rides. “The most damage I found was a couple downed tree limbs—they’re providing our warming fire tonight.”

The Chamber’s “Light the Night” holiday kick-off event, held on Nov. 25 under the lights in the park, was a success and is planned again next year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

Anything new to look for next year? “See that tree [the mega tree]?” said Suess. “I’d like to go twice as high next year.”

It is not only a lot of work to set up the Holiday Lights in Motion, a lot of work goes in to taking it down and storing everything for the next year, too. Suess said work will begin this weekend, Jan. 6 and 7, and continue the following weekend and maybe even the one after that. “Until we’re done,” he said.

Volunteers are encouraged to lend a hand. “We’ll start at 9 a.m. on Saturday and can use help in the park and later at Kibble Equipment,” said Suess. Starting at 1 p.m., volunteers will wind light strings on reels—warm work inside the shop at Kibble.