Nearly 7 million lights blanket Silver Dollar City in Branson during its “An Old Time Christmas" event, which opened to the public on Nov. 2.
It takes a special crew to put the lights up and a specific group of people to do quality control of the park to ensure everything's in the correct spot. During its media preview event on Nov. 1, Dalton Fischer, senior publicist of Silver Dollar City, told The Mail that event organizers are very intentional with the lights they choose, which also means the lights are taken down and put up new every single year.
"We start on July 5 putting lights up and we will take them down by Valentine’s Day," said Fischer. “In total, there are nearly 7 million, so over 6 1/2 million lights on the park. They all get taken down mainly because of critters and people, but the other biggest reason is the UV rays from the sun. A green light may become faded green and a red light may become pink and so on. We want our lights to be what they are."
The Silver Dollar City park usually opens the first Saturday of November and goes all the way into New Year's Day, according to Fischer.
"The Christmas festival technically ends Dec. 30, but we just keep the lights up on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1," said Fischer.
The Christmas in Midtown section of the park fills over an acre with 145 miles of lights, with light tunnels and wreath portals, light displays with flying angels, running reindeer, musical trees and dozens of stars and snowflakes — all created at Silver Dollar City.
"Christmas in Midtown has its own shed," said Fischer. "We created it with different pieces to make a two-story building three stories or a one-story building two stories. That all fits into a shed, and then the tree is a beast in itself."
Speaking of the tree, it's an eight-story centerpiece to the new "Joy on Town Square" attraction. The custom-designed tree features 300,000 dancing, high-resolution lights that are synced to music. It emits 2 million shades of color and 1 million points of illumination.
"The tree is a wonderful addition to the park," said Fischer. "It adds an element of beauty and lighting that everyone will enjoy."
During the Christmas event, visitors can see the Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas parade, which winds through the streets twice each evening as Rudolph leads the way with nine lighted musical floats.
"An Old Time Christmas" is a tradition that started with the Silver Dollar City Foundation, which has an organization called Care for Kids. Care for Kids has served over 40,000 kids in Stone and Taney counties and provided over $1.8 million since its inception in 2006 through the Silver Dollar City Foundation.
This is the seventh year to do a White Glove event, which included the media preview. According to John Baltes, president of the Silver Dollar City Foundation, Jack Herschend, son of Silver Dollar City co-founder Peter Herschend, used to be in the United States Marines. In 1970s, they used the term "white glove," because Marines were famous for doing white-glove inspections to make sure the place was ready for the next day.
"That just became the handle for this event, which says the night before it opens to the public, we will do a white-glove event," said Baltes. "That means we make sure the lights, the performers and everything else is ready the night before the park opens to the public."