For the past 25 years, Countryside Park in Washington Township has been transformed into a huge display of lights during the holiday season. Woodland Lights, one of Dayton’s oldest Christmas displays returns for its 26th run.
Attendees have the opportunity to walk a half-mile wooded path of Christmas lights and visit live animals like reindeer and foxes, enjoy carnival rides, and see Santa inside a historic log cabin – all for the price of $8. There is no admission fee for children ages two and under.
“It actually started out as a grassroots community holiday show and it just grew out of that,” said Kate Trangenstein, marketing and special events leader for the Washington Township Recreation Department.
Before the event was held, a local resident started decorating the trees outside the Washington Township Recreation Center. Each year, she continued adding onto the decorations from the year before. Eventually, it was adopted as a holiday tradition and expanded to become the display that it is today, Trangenstein said.
The Woodland Lights has hundreds of sponsors, including major ones like Sam’s Club, IHeartRadio. Local sponsors have also provided food and cash donations to keep the event going, according to Trangenstein.
Woodland Lights received a total of $39,457.99 in cash donations this year. “It truly is a community-supported event,” Trangenstein said.
Trangenstein said that the Woodland Lights allows audiences to interact with the display rather than just observe it. “It’s interactive; you’re engaging with the show,” she said. “It’s unique in that way.”
This year, the Woodland Lights have averaged up to 1,000 guests every night since it was opened on Nov. 23. On average, the Woodland Lights attracts up to 30,000 guests in, according to Trangenstein. The display will It will stay up and running until Dec. 23. It is open from 6 to 9 p.m., seven days a week.