St. Charles Park District restarting Holiday Lights Tour
The St. Charles Park District hopes Santa and snowmen will be as popular as ghouls and ghosts.
On the heels of the successful Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour for Halloween where participation nearly doubled compared to recent years -- and with limited options to celebrate next month due to COVID-19 restrictions -- the park district plans to restart its Holiday Lights Tour this year after a decade without it.
The park district is seeking houses to register for the event that will give families an opportunity to drive around town and enjoy holiday decorations from a safe distance. According to Katie Miller, the park district's assistant superintendent of recreation, the format will be similar to the Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour, a traditional Halloween event in St. Charles that saw about 30 houses participate last month compared to around 15 in past years.
Miller is confident the Holiday Lights Tour, which she said was suspended for several years because of dwindling participation, will be just as popular with residents anxious to find a way to celebrate the holidays while adhering to COVID-19 guidelines.
"People just seemed to be very interested and really enjoyed the Gallery of Ghoulish Homes Tour with their families," she said. "We figured if that worked so well, let's try to bring back the Holiday Lights Tour. With a lot of the other holiday traditions canceled or modified, this is a pretty COVID-friendly event."
Registration for the Holiday Lights Tour began this week. While only a few houses have registered so far, Miller believes interest will pick up as word gets around.
Participation is free and the registration deadline is Dec. 6 to be included in the map provided by the park district. Participants are asked to keep their lights on from dusk to 10 p.m. from Dec. 10 to Jan. 3.
Tour guides will be available Dec. 10 at stcparks.org and feature an interactive guide people can follow on Google Maps.
"We're really early still but we've had a lot of supportive feedback on social media," Miller said. "We'd be thrilled if we had 20 to 25 homes participate."