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Marcia Hales’ walk-through display, 3739 S. Lake Ave. on Duluth’s Park Point, is open this season until Jan. 6.
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Marcia Hales sits beside more than a decade of guest books from her walk-through holiday display.
In Marcia Hales’ back yard this holiday season, you can expect to see thousands of lights and annual favorites like the penguins. There's even a laser spotlight that shines “thousands of little green lights” resembling fireflies in the trees.
“It’s a little whimsical and creates a real fairy atmosphere,” Marcia says.
The official start of her annual free walk-through lighting display on Duluth’s Park Point will be December 9, 2016. Some lights will be ready earlier.
“Normally what I try to do is to have some lights up for the families that are here for Thanksgiving,” she says.
Marcia is marking her 18th year of having her lighting display open to the public. Last year the display was featured on ABC's "The Great Christmas Light Fight."
She does most of the work herself, but has help from her grandson, Zach.
“Every year, I change things a bit,” Marcia says, and this year that will include the walk out to the beach where she’s acquired “tons of driftwood.”
One might think that few things still surprise Marcia, but she is still surprised when people stop by to see the lights and tell her that they’ve never walked out onto the beach at Park Point – and they’re from Duluth.
Marcia’s lighting display will remain up “until Epiphany,” in early January.
Marcia keeps doing the display year after year because “I just love Christmas and the holidays. I enjoy being able to share it with everybody who comes.”
Besides, she adds, “They expect me to be here.” The display is a holiday tradition for many families. One example is two brothers serving in the military. They come with their wives and last year brought their mother. “They’ve been here six or seven years.”
Duluth writer Chuck Frederick’s book, Spirit of the Lights: One Woman, 120,000 Lights, Countless Lives Touched (from this magazine’s publisher), created more buzz than usual about the display. His book tells stories of people who found comfort and unexpected meaning in Marcia’s lights.
Stop by for free hot cider and cookies in the garden house, or warm up by the fire.
3739 S. Lake Ave. on Duluth’s Park Point. 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday (with Santa expected on Friday and Saturday), through the first week of January.