Festival of Lights Now Open at Riverforks Park
Amazing light displays and Nutcracker Ballet kick off highly anticipated season
The 22nd season of the Umpqua Valley Festival of Lights is now underway at Riverforks Park near Roseburg, Oregon. The Festival of Lights has become an annual tradition in Douglas County, drawing nearly 30,000 visitors in 2014 and generating hundreds of thousands of dollars for Rotary Club scholarships since beginning in 1993.
The Festival of Lights opens at Riverforks Park at 5:30 every night from now to January 1.
While visitors once again enjoy 90 light displays containing nearly 500,000 and all the traditional attractions that have made the Festival famous, some new additions will make the experience even more unforgettable.
Many of the new features are connected to the World’s Largest Nutcracker, but one very important addition can be found among the light displays. Organizers of the Festival have added a UCC Strong display. The sign was built in the shape of the state of Oregon, with a red heart over Roseburg and the words “UCC Strong”. Festival Committee Chair Kerwin Doughton said, “The display is meant to pay respects to those who were lost, to encourage the injured, and honor the strength and resolve of our amazing community.”
A few improvements have been made to the World’s Largest Nutcracker for 2015. First, the 41 foot statue has been named Herr Woody Winterguard. Second, Herr Woody now has moving arms. Finally, the Nutcracker has been fitted with a video camera. The live video stream will be available during normal operating hours. Soon, Herr Woody Winterguard is expected to officially be recognized as the largest in the world by Guinness World Records.
The Holiday Village will be open Thursday through Sunday nights during the Festival. With Santa Claus, a model train set, cookies, candies, warm cider and souvenirs for sale, the Holiday Village is a must see. Wagon rides are back Saturday and Sunday nights.
Several special nights are scheduled throughout the Festival of Lights, allowing thousands of people to see the attractions for free through special offers.
You can also find the personal Facebook account of the World’s Largest Nutcracker and follow him on Twitter @KingNutcracker!
The World’s Largest Nutcracker has a name.
The iconic resident of Riverforks Park will be known forever more as Herr Woody Winterguard.
Festival of Lights Committee Chairman Kerwin Doughton, the Father of the Festival of Lights, is proud of the selection. “We chose Herr Woody Winterguard from nearly 300 entries from about 150 people from all over the Northwest and even one from Quebec, Canada. There were many excellent suggestions, and some silly ones, too.”
The name is perfect, according to Doughton. “Herr Woody Winterguard includes a reference to the Nutcracker’s German heritage and offers an air of nobility, since he stands guard over the Festival of Lights all winter long.”
Herr Woody Winterguard was reassembled by Jack Reilly and his work crew at Riverforks Park Wednesday, November 11. Inter Mountain Innovations, Inc and JM Crane Service tackled the heavy lifting.
Mary Borns of Springfield submitted the winning name, which was selected by the Festival of Lights Committee. For naming the Nutcracker, Borns received a lifetime pass to the Festival of Lights and two tickets to the annual performance of the Nutcracker Ballet, held on opening night at Jacoby Auditorium at Umpqua Community College.
Naming the Nutcracker was not the only event to take place at Riverforks Park Wednedsday. Surveyors officially documented Herr Woody Winterguard’s height for Guinness World Records. The surveyors’ report, witness statements and a video of the measurement will all be submitted as evidence in order to put the Nutcracker in the book as the World’s Largest Nutcracker.
“At 41 feet tall, we know we have the largest Nutcracker ever built. Now we hope to see Herr Woody Winterguard put in the Guinness World Record book!” Doughton said.
Two other exciting developments were announced on Wednesday. First, fans of the Festival of Lights will be able to see a live video feed from atop the Nutcracker. Thanks to EnviroVision Solutions and Inerseshen Media, anyone can see what the Nutcracker sees by clicking the link during working Festival hours at umpquavalleyfestivaloflights.com.
Finally, downtown Roseburg businesses are supporting
the Festival of Lights by displaying six foot tall, themed nutcrackers
during the six week Festival run.
“We have always enjoyed tremendous support from the community,” Doughton said, “but this year has the most excitement we have ever seen around the Festival of Lights.”
You can follow the Festival of Lights on Facebook, find the personal Facebook account of the World’s Largest Nutcracker and follow him on Twitter @KingNutcracker!
Now through Jan. 1, 2016
Sunday - Thursday 5:30 - 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday 5:30 - 10 p.m.
Holidays 5:30 - 10 p.m.
Special thanks to the local businesses who make the Festival of Lights possible! Pacific Power, Umpqua Valley Tractor, McDonald's, Dr. Andrea Gray, Sign Craft, Bi-Mart and the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.
Douglas County community groups sign up to take tickets at the Festival of Lights. They are recognized for their contributions and get the added bonus of representing their organization while meeting thousands of visitors.
Friday, November 27 - Veterans Night
Wednesday, December 2 - Cow Creek Tribe Canned Food Night
Tuesday, December 8 - BiMart Night
Wednesday, December 16 - Cascade Community Credit Union Night
Brought to you by the Rotary Club of Roseburg
Proceeds provide scholarships and support local service projects