Here in Grant County, the winter festivities begin every year with the Walkway of Lights Christmas Parade & Holiday Lighting Ceremony. It’s a family tradition we never miss, because it’s not just any Christmas light display.
A Christmas Tradition
The winter wonderland is chock full of retro holiday vibes that take us back to Christmas past. As it should, since it’s one of the oldest Christmas light displays in the Midwest. Marion was known for going over-the-top with jolly, dazzling Christmas decorations. An Indianapolis television station got wind of the merry spectacle in 1965 and decided to capture it on film.
The city was dubbed “Christmas City USA.” The nickname stuck and Marion has celebrated the holiday season in a big way ever since. In 1991, the residents of Marion decided to make their decorations bigger and brighter than it ever was before. The light displays were expanded, creating the holiday tradition we know and love today. Thanks to local residents, businesses and organizations, The Walkway of Lights has been going strong for decades.
The Biggest and Brightest Christmas Lights
Two and a half million twinkling lights that stretch along the Mississinewa River walkway for two miles all the way to Matter Park and Gardens. The route boasts 120 different breathtaking displays, some themed in the most fun ways.
There are many Hoosier favorites sprinkled about, like the Butler Bulldog, college logos and Indiana’s torch. But, our favorite Hoosier, of course, is Garfield. The feisty feline slides into the holidays on a candy cane.
Illuminated flowers and butterflies sparkle in Matter Gardens, just like the real ones do in summer. It’s hard not to sing each verse of the 12 Days of Christmas when you see five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens… See? It’s not as easy as it sounds. Oh, and you can’t miss the breathtaking illuminating suspension bridge over the Mississinewa.
The glorious displays end with two saluting toy soldiers dutifully guarding the Christmas Shoppe. We stop in every time to warm up with hot cocoa, cider and a few sweet treats. The cookies are just like grandma used to make. Browse around the Shoppe for ornaments, books and other nostalgic Christmas finds. On the weekend, Santa Claus and The Grinch stop by.
You can walk through the winter wonderland for free or cruise through the displays in your car for $5 per vehicle. Christmas City Walkway of Lights is open from 6-10pm November 17-December 31, 2018.
See our calendar for holiday fun all season long!