Aquado Douglas with the City of Owensboro replaces old lights on a Christmas display Nov. 19 during the setup of the 36th annual Holiday in the Park in Legion Park. The holiday display lights started shining Nov. 24.

It is officially the holiday season, and that means two of Owensboro and Daviess County’s most anticipated lighting displays have opened for the community to enjoy.

Since 2003, Christmas at Panther Creek has welcomed visitors to the Daviess County Park at 5160 Wayne Bridge Road to enjoy a drive-through lighting display featuring more than 500,000 Christmas lights.

“We advertise between 500,000 and 700,000,” Parks Director Ross Leigh said.

Christmas at Panther Creek is open nightly from 6-9 p.m. until Jan. 2, 2022.

“There are over 60 displays throughout the park from snowflakes to farm scenes ... it is a lot of different displays that come together to make the project a whole,” Leigh said.

Cost is $5 per vehicle, and all of the money raised during the five-week light display is donated to five area nonprofit organizations.

The nonprofits selected to participate this year are the Kentucky State Police Professional Association, Right to Life of Owensboro, St. Benedict’s Homeless Shelter, 90.3 WKWC Kentucky Wesleyan College and United Way of the Ohio Valley.

Last year, the event raised about $50,000 for charity.

“It has been an extremely important component to a lot of families’ traditions,” Leigh said of the event.

Along with the county, the city of Owensboro has its own annual lighting display.

Holiday in the Park officially opened for its 36th season on Nov. 24 at Legion Park.

The park features more than 50 displays and 200,000 light bulbs, as well as “dancing trees,” toys and Santa’s sleigh. Admission is free.

According to a statement by the city, Holiday in the Park originated in 1986, featuring wooden structures sponsored by local businesses and also donated by area schools.

The city provided the lights, and the structures were sold to schools and companies to be placed in the park. A January 2000 tornado destroyed many of the original wooden structures. Over time, the park display has been updated to feature not only the wooden structures, but also new lighting displays each year.

The final day for Holiday in the Park will be Saturday, Jan. 2, 2022.

For more information about Christmas at Panther Creek, call Daviess County Parks and Recreation at 270-685-6142 or visit www.daviesscounty.org.

For more information about Holiday in the Park, call the Owensboro Parks & Recreation Administrative Center at 270-687-8700 or visit www.owensboroparks.org.

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, nhavenner@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-228-2837

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, nhavenner@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-228-2837

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