CULLMAN, Ala. – Cullman County Parks and Recreation saved the announcement of a big surprise for the ribbon cutting of the 20th annual Winter Wonderland at Sportsman Lake Park on Friday, Nov. 18.
Visitors did not have to wait long for the announcement. The 40 ft. inflatable Santa could be spotted immediately as spectators arrived. The inflatable was purchased on EBay and donated by a sponsor to be the newest addition to the Winter Wonderland. The display has over a million lights and new displays are added every year.
Parks and Recreation Director Doug Davenport said, “I’m really excited because we’ve got the biggest Pepsi can at Smith Lake and we’ve got the largest Santa I’ve ever seen.”
Davenport has been with the department for the last ten years. He said the department’s revenue has increased dramatically over the years, “The first year I was in the department we did a little over $15,000, last year we did $217,000.”
There are seven park workers at Sportsman Lake who put up the decorations starting the third week in September. For about a week, Davenport said they had help from workers from neighboring parks, but the seven did the majority of the work themselves.
Davenport said that some of the displays are 14 feet tall and may take five people to hoist them up.
“We can’t thank the staff enough for what they do to get it done in that time,” he said.
Guests can drive through the light display from 5-9 p.m. on open dates: Nov. 18-20, 25-27, 30 and Dec. 1-4, 7-11, 14-23, 26-30.
Admission is $10 cash per vehicle.
The wonderland also features the Christmas train, horse and carriage rides, snow machine, photo booth, hot chocolate and more.
Senior Night is Dec. 1 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Seniors 60 and older will be admitted free. A bag of candy will be given to the first 300 seniors.
The last day for train rides is Dec. 23. The park will be closed Christmas Eve and Day. Dec. 26-30 will be drive-through only.
Sportsman Lake Park is located at 1544 Sportsman Lake Road NW in Cullman. Find out more at www.facebook.com/SportsmanLakePark.
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