ALTON - It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Alton's Rock Spring Park as the annual Christmas Wonderland light display prepares to open for the season on Friday, Nov. 27.

While the COVID pandemic has prompted a few changes to the traditional holiday display – the walkthrough experience, and both the Santa’s Village and Enchanted Forest features have been removed -- additional lights have been added to bring more sparkle to the drive-through experience.

Over the last three months, the Grandpa Gang, a group of retired volunteers, has been busy hanging lights and counting down to the opening day of Christmas Wonderland. More than 4 million lights will twinkle against the beautiful backdrop of Rock Spring Park, lighting the way toward another illuminating holiday season.

Christmas Wonderland will be open nightly November 27 through December 27. The park is located at 2100 College Ave, in Alton. Hours are Monday through Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Grandpa Gang, a group of retirees and volunteers, organizes and designs the Christmas spectacular of cascading lights, tunnels and displays known as Christmas Wonderland. Each evening, the park sparkles against the night sky with millions of glistening lights, all hung by volunteers and the “gang.” Christmas Wonderland warms the hearts and helps families and friends capture the holiday spirit. Each year, the Grandpa Gang takes time to give back to the community with a portion of the attraction’s seasonal revenue donated to local charities. In 2019, the Grandpa Gang awarded over 60 grants to local organizations, totaling nearly $45,000.

Every night visitors can turn off their car headlights and let the holiday displays carry them through the magical scene of Christmas Wonderland. Returning light displays include Disney’s Frozen, an updated Snoopy display and the 12 Days of Christmas. Even a few of Alton’s historical figures visit, including displays of Robert Wadlow, the World’s Tallest Man, placing the star on the Christmas tree and the legendary Piasa Bird carrying a bag of gifts for the kids are featured.

Enhance the Christmas Wonderland experience by tuning vehicle radios to 87.9 FM during the drive through the park for a holiday tune soundtrack.

Admission to Christmas Wonderland is a suggested donation of $7 for cars and small vans or $1 per person for vehicles holding more than 10 people. For more information on Christmas Wonderland, call 1-800-258-6645, or go to www.christmaswonderlandalton.com.

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