Catch the Christmas spirit at Sportsman Lake Park

Annual Winter Wonderland now open

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Close to 2 million lights will greet guests partaking in this year’s Sportsman Lake Park Winter Wonderland. (Maggie Darnell for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The annual Sportsman Lake Park Winter Wonderland kicked off Friday evening, following weeks of preparation by Cullman County Parks and Recreation (CCPR). This year’s attraction has added more displays and fun features.  

“We are ready to kick it off tonight,” CCPR Director Doug Davenport said Friday. “It’s going to be a wet night for it, but it is what it is.”

The Winter Wonderland will be open rain or shine except, of course, in severe weather.

Davenport estimated close to 2 million lights will greet guests as they make their way through the park.

“We’ve added 20 more animated features this year. What we are trying to do is phase out some of the older ones. They are not LED and not as bright,” he said.

Davenport said the older strands of lights are harder to fix when bulbs go out and the LED lights are more energy-efficient.

Guests can drive through the park and simply enjoy the splendor of the lights or they can choose to park and experience the extra attractions including train rides, carriage rides and sleigh rides.

Santa will also be appearing at the Winter Wonderland. Parents can take pictures of their kids with Santa or purchase a 5×7 photo in a souvenir frame for $5.

Davenport added, “We have a new backdrop for Santa this year that is better than the one we’ve used in the past. I think everyone will really like that.”

More lights and features have been added to the train ride, with archways and displays along the route. Passengers will surely catch the Christmas spirit as they listen to Christmas music while riding choo-chooing around the lake.

The price to enter the Winter Wonderland remains affordable. The cost is $10 (cash only) per vehicle, regardless of how many people are in it.

Davenport reflected on a phenomenon from last year’s Winter Wonderland event, smiling, “People came with the Christmas spirit and would show it by paying for the cars behind them.”

He said the pay-it-forward movement would continue throughout the night.

The schedule for the Sportsman Lake Park Winter Wonderland:

  • 22-26 and Nov. 30: 5-9:30 p.m.
  • December- Wednesday-Sunday: 5-9:30 p.m.
  • 23 is the last day for Santa and the train.
  • Closed Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
  • 26-29- Drive through only: 5-9:30 p.m.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/events/395857437714080 or call 256-734-3052.

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com