‘Preview event’ set for Dec. 14-17 at Hodag Parks
BY KEVIN BONESKE
Rhinelander’s Parks, Buildings and Grounds Committee voted Monday in support of a special event permit to allow the “Lights of the Northwoods” Christmas display Dec. 14-17 at Hodag Park.
Committee members heard from Shawn Will, who submitted the permit application on behalf of Lights of the Northwoods. He noted the plans for 2017 call for a four-day “preview event” in its first year of existence in Rhinelander with the hope to expand the days of the festival in subsequent years.
Along with a providing community holiday lighting festival, the event’s mission calls for collecting food and monetary donations to feed the hungry of the Northwoods.
The event’s planned layout places for the majority of the lighting and display areas along the route in Hodag Park that enters and exits the beach pavilion area. The Lions shelter next to Stafford Field would be used as a warming house and central location for events throughout the weekend. No fireworks are planned, though the permit application seeks to have a contained bonfire.
Will said Lights of the Northwoods would be shutting down in the evenings “well within normal hours, not to disrupt anybody too late or anything like that.”
The event setup is planned Dec. 9-13 with the teardown to take place Dec. 18-24, according to the permit application.
Parks Committee chairperson Sherrie Belliveau said the permit application would also have to be reviewed by the public works, police and fire departments before being forwarded to the full City Council for final approval.
Will said the local support received for Lights of the Northwoods includes the Lions Club donating $2,000 toward the event and also challenging the Lights of the Northwoods to come up with $10,000 in donations from the public, for which the Lions Club would contribute another $3,000 on top of that.
He said informational meetings people may attend to find out about Lights of the Northwoods will be held Oct. 1 from noon-3 p.m. and Oct. 5 6-9 p.m. at the Hodag Steakhouse in Rhinelander.