Shari Hittesdorf and Mike Suess, co-chairs of Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion, provided a report on the sixth season of HLM.

Shari Hittesdorf and Mike Suess, co-chairs of Sleepy Eye Holiday Lights in Motion, provided a report on the sixth season of the popular display in Sportsmen’s Park. As it has been each year, the display was open from Thanksgiving night through New Year’s Day.

Hittesdorf and Suess reported:

•Our sixth season featured approximately 90 lighted trees and 250,000 lights.

•We unveiled our snow globe display and photo taking cut outs.

•A new Hay Wagon style wagon was built which allowed us to offer more ride nights, with riders enjoying a more enclosed feature to help combat the cold weather.

•We also had the use of Lowell Heiderscheidt’s Hay Wagon, which meant minimal wait time for most of our guests wanting rides.

•We had two nights in which the Horse and Carriage Ride was also offered.

Over 1,700 people enjoyed rides during the seven nights they were offered.

“The rides were made possible because of the generosity of our Ride Night Sponsors,” said Hittesdorf. “The sponsors were Schroepfer Inc., Lake Villa and Divine Providence, Kibble Equipment, Miller Sellner, Heiderscheidt Aerial, Sleepy Eye Auto Value, Sleepy Eye Medical Center, Schweiss Meats, and C&S Heating and Air Conditioning.”

Hittesdorf and Suess said the Sleepy Eye Servicemen’s Club once again sponsored the free concessions, which were offered to all guests on Special Event Nights. Seven different non-profit groups worked the concession stand on these nights and benefited from the Free Will offerings.

A camera records the vehicles that drive through the park and captured 11,400 vehicles drive through the park during the 37 days it was open. Hittesdorf said that compares to 11,700 last year, but that season ran 40 nights.

“We feel there was, however, much greater traffic this season, as many people parked in the parking lot and enjoyed the walk through experience, including getting pictures taken by the #OnlyinMN sign, which was in the park during the month of December,” said Hittesdorf. “The #OnlyinMN sign was a huge draw. We estimate hundreds, maybe even thousands, of photos were taken next to the sign, by people from all over the state. Families were constantly waiting for their turn to pose during Event Nights.”

Suess said, “Even during the many time periods in which we were doing maintenance work at the park, there were people huddled around the sign snapping photos.”

“On our website we have displayed what our dream was from the day we decided to go forward with this project,” said Hittesdorf. “Mike and I both agree, not only have we obtained this goal, but it has far exceeded our wildest dreams.”

From the Holiday Lights in Motion website, Our Dream:

•We believe this project will grow into a tradition in which local folks as well as people from around the region will come to visit.

•A place for families to gather during the holiday season.

•The possibilities are endless — but we need community support to make our long term dream become a reality.

Hittesdorf and Suess expressed their appreciation to those who helped make the display possible again this season:

“We are so grateful to all who played a role this past year, whether you helped with the fundraisers, set up, event nights, take down, or donated materials or money — the collaboration of all made for another amazing season!”