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A Colorful Christmas Season Tradition in Mifflin County - abc27 WHTM

A Colorful Christmas Season Tradition in Mifflin County

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"If they enjoy looking at Christmas lights, we have a few of them," joked Darlene Gray, overlooking a colorfully lit Kish Park in Derry Township.

In just seven years, the Shining LIght Through the Darkness walking tour has become a Lewistown area Christmas season tradition. For many, it's a welcome break from the hurried pace of the season. And. it's absolutely free, although donations are welcome.

"It's a fun time just to walk. Take a breather," said Gray, a tour volunteer, whose daughter Darla founded the walk. "You can come out and enjoy the fresh crisp night air. See all the Christmas lights."

Thousands of lights decorate a nearly one mile loop around the park perimeter. Along the way, colorful stop stations feature a variety of traditional Christmas characters, several spiritual themes and a few places just for laughs. And, with a nod to Christmas long ago, there are horse drawn wagon rides, offering the chance to enjoy the holiday sights in snuggled groups. The event is hosted by the Freedom Avenue United Methodist Church in Burnham that rents the park for the event. The tour is set up and run by nearly 500 volunteers from throughout the community.

"This is a community outreach to let people realize what Christmas is all about," said Gray. "To let God's light shine during the season."

To break from the sometime freezing temperatures, visitors can warm up and fill up in a snack shop. And, just a few feet away, another heated room features an elaborate model train display, miniature Christmas village and Gingerbread Houses.

Topping off the visit, nightly entertainment is provided in a large cozy room that once housed bumper cars when the property was a popular amusement park. Last year, the event drew more than 10-thousand visitors, and, weather permitting, organizers hope to do even better.

"It just brings a smile to your face to see all the reaction of the people and how happy they are when they leave," said Cornelius Gray, while serving hot dogs to chilled walkers.

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