By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
Yukon’s Christmas lights spectacular saw strong attendance for its 25th anniversary year, but the six-week festival didn’t quite break a record.
Long lines of vehicles were common during the 2020 edition of Christmas In the Park, which was open from Nov. 23 through the New Year’s weekend at the interconnecting Chisholm Trail Park, Yukon City Park and Freedom Trail Park.
Official traffic counts provided by the City of Yukon show 32,104 vehicles went through Freedom Trail Park, 41,772 vehicles through Chisholm Trail Park and 29,654 vehicles through Yukon City Park.
Meanwhile, “Santa Express” train riders at Chisholm Trail Park totaled 24,512 for the season.
Traffic counts were “just under” the total in 2018, according to City of Yukon public information officer Jenna Roberson.
“Based off the enthusiasm and my own personal observation, I would have thought we’d easily broken the record,” Roberson said. “Even so, considering we were and still are in the middle of a pandemic, we couldn’t be happier with how many people stopped by to enjoy Christmas in the Park.”
It should be noted the counters at Freedom Trail Park and Yukon City Park were not working during the first 10 days so that impacted the official traffic counts.
PLENTY TO ENJOY
The City of Yukon’s illuminated yuletide extravaganza featured 4.5-plus million lights and about 450 unique displays across 100 rolling acres. Drive-thru and walking tours were available.
Train rides and an outdoor ice-skating rink were among featured attractions. Popular displays were the RGB Tree, color-changing Christmas tree island and several “selfie” stations.
Combined traffic counts at the Yukon City Park complex exceeded 4,000 vehicles on six nights during the 2020 Christmas in the Park:
Dec. 9 (4,611), Dec. 10 (4,591), Dec. 11 (4,325), Dec. 12 (4,352), Dec. 19 (4,536), and Dec. 20 (4,360).
Train riders exceeded 1,000 on nine nights: Dec. 5 (1,261), Dec. 9 (1,020), Dec. 10 (1,115), Dec. 18 (1,040), Dec. 19 (1,343), Dec. 20 (1,208), Dec. 21 (1,206), Dec. 22 (1,127), and Dec. 26 (1,111).
There were 17 marriage proposals recorded during this year’s Yukon holiday light festival, according to the City of Yukon data.
The lights were turned off Friday, Jan. 1 after seven inches of snow fell. Lights were back on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 2-3 because the ice-skating rink was open until 11 p.m. those days, but traffic counts were modest.