Light Up Middletown by the Numbers
By Ann Mort
Opening weekend for Light Up Middletown, a drive-through fantasy light display in downtown Middletown’s Smith Park, drew 6,401 people in 1,935 vehicles from Friday to Sunday, November 25, 26 and 27.
Friday and Saturday weather brought out crowds higher than in 2010. Sunday’s rain kept the attendance low. Light Up’s chairperson Flo Randall said that snowy and rainy evenings are even more spectacular when the lights all reflect in the water on the ground and in the lake.
In 2010, during those first three days, there were 6,987 people in 1,977 vehicles who drove through the tunnel of lights and toured the 100-acre park with thousands of twinkling lights in animated displays.
The event, now in its 13th year, has grown tremendously from its beginning when only a few displays were in the park. Not only does the all-volunteer Grandpa Gang add to the number of displays each year, but they now switch a few displays from regular to LED bulbs each year.
According to Barney Strassburger, Grandpa Gang crew chief since the beginning, the new 100-foot by 33-foot whale display contains 7,049 LED bulbs.
Strassburger and his crew’s plans for next year’s include changing the 138-foot long by 27-foot tall Santa’s Workshop display to all LED. The new LED bulbs not only are brighter and make displays more distinct, they use far less electricity. For instance, Santa’s Workshop now requires 24 extension cords using 250 amps of current. After the LED change-out, it will require only 3 extension cords and use 21 amps.
How many bulbs are in all these displays? Strassburger says they’ve never counted, but there are 50 lighted snowflakes used as filler displays and each one takes an average of 100 bulbs.
Light Up Middletown is open each night from 6 to 10 pm through New Year’s Eve, December 31. Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet children every Friday and Saturday evening from 7 to 9 pm through December 23. Photos are available. The annual hot air balloon glow is scheduled for Tuesday, December 6 from 7 to 8 pm, weather permitting.
Admission is by donation. Guests set their own price of admission. Donations are used to repair, replace and purchase new displays, share with the non-profit organizations who staff the entrance tunnel and make upgrades to the park.
For more information contact Chairperson Flo Randall at 513-423-1877 or visit the website www.LightUpMiddletown.org.