By Conrad Dudderar
Large crowds converged on Yukon for the city’s 26th annual Christmas lights festival.
Final 2021 Christmas in the Park traffic counts totaled 108,122 – an increase of 4,592 from 2020.
“This year’s Christmas season was wonderful with record-breaking numbers,” Yukon Park Maintenance Superintendent Jason Worden wrote in a Jan. 3rd memo to Yukon city administrators.
“The new displays that were purchased this year were a huge hit! We had many compliments about them and the whole park looking magnificent and how the park was layered.”
A breakdown of Christmas in the Park traffic counts by park was:
- Chisholm Trail Park – 37,228
- Yukon City Park – 39,873
- Freedom Trail Park – 31,021
There were 30,193 “Santa Express” train riders, an increase of 6,509 over last year.
“It’s hard to say if it’s a record high number of cars, but we certainly had the most train riders this year,” City of Yukon public information officer Jenna Roberson said.
“I have to say, it appears that walking and the train station are getting more and more popular every year!”
Christmas in the Park opened Nov. 20 and concluded Jan. 2 at the Yukon City Park complex.
Visitors enjoyed drive-thru and walking tours of the interconnecting Chisholm Trail Park, Yukon City Park and Freedom Trail Park.
Yukon’s holiday spectacular featured about 500 displays and 5 million twinkling lights.
‘BEST CHRISTMAS DISPLAY’
City of Yukon personnel heard many compliments from train riders “saying this is the best Christmas display they had ever seen and how we did an amazing job,” Worden wrote in his memo.
Since Christmas in the Park began in the mid-1990s, displays have been added annually.
New 2021 attractions were “4-D” displays featuring a Cadillac with Santa Claus riding on the back, a gingerbread house scene, squashed reindeer, and horse-and-carriage.
Returning favorites included a color-changing 30-foot tree, Santa’s Workshop gingerbread house, “Czechers” the polar bear, juggling dragon, and a Christmas tree “island” at Mulvey’s Pond.
Among featured attractions was an outdoor ice-skating rink at Chisholm Trail Park.
A couple nights even featured camel rides – which were a “huge hit” with around 500 riders each night, Worden noted.
Some 15 marriage proposals also were featured during Yukon’s annual Christmas light extravaganza.
Christmas in the Park was open every night over six weeks except Dec. 15, when it was closed due to 50 mile-per-hour winds.
Average temperature was 52 degrees.