đź’« Rotary Making Spirits Bright open the Friday after Thanksgiving through New Year's Eveđź’«
Admission is free, but pantry items are appreciated to support local food pantries through Sheboygan County Food Bank.



Sheboygan, WI (August 25, 2021)
Going into the tenth year of partnership, Making Spirits Bright donated $30,000 to Sheboygan County Food Bank to help purchase healthy food for our neighbors.

Message from Steering Committee Chair

Holiday Greetings!

Thank you for sharing our joy with Christmas as we once again bring you this much anticipated holiday
lights show. Your encouraging compliments and multiple visits are two of the reasons our dedicated volunteers are excited about continuing to provide this event.

We have grown exponentially over these twelve years, so we needed more warehouse room, or as we
call it, workshop space, since we are some of Santa’s elves. Thankfully, the Sheboygan Humane Society,
our landlord, had space available right next door. A little deconstruction and construction gave us a pass through from one section to the other. Our very organized shop manager, John Muehlbauer and others on the production committee rearranged everything to utilize the space in the best possible manner.

A few new displays again this year include a mega star and a jolly hippopotamus inspired from the age-
old children’s song I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas. The star boasts about 2800 KGB LED lights
which will brighten up its new home in the park. Other additions continue to contribute to the ambiance among the trees and roadways.

As we round out our twelfth year, I will be stepping down as the Steering Committee Chair gradually
phasing out over the course of time in 2024. I will remain as the fundraising chair, but will turn the
remainder of duties over to David Hoffmann who is known by many of you. He has long time experience
in both the business and non-profit world and will be a great successor to this position. I trust he will be
shown the same love and respect that has been demonstrated to me over the years.

There aren’t adequate words to thank all who have worked so diligently with me since 2010 when this
concept was but an idea brought back from a Rotary District Conference by Judy Slawny and myself. It became a reality in 2012 and has become more than we could ever have imagined. I have so appreciated all of our dedicated committee volunteers, many of whom have been involved since 2012. We wouldn’t be continuing year after year without the visitors who frequent the park with their pantry and monetary donations. I would also like to thank so many in Sheboygan County for their confidence with financial and volunteer support. The City of Sheboygan Public Works made the event possible by extending the
use of Evergreen Park which offers such a unique venue or the lights display. Our partnership with
Sheboygan County Food Bank has been rewarding beyond words and with the addition of the annual 5K
Holiday Lights Run/Walk has afforded them increased benefits. Lastly, but certainly not least, I would
like to thank all of our families who have supported our efforts, supporting the time required to bring
this special event to fruition annually.

It has been a gratifying, rewarding experience and I look forward to what is ahead with new leadership.


Gerry Plehn
Steering Committee Chair


Celebrate the Holidays While Helping Those in Need at Making Spirits Bright
The drive-through holiday lights show has become a tradition for many and while admission is free, through the collection of pantry item donations, those struggling to feed their family get help. Making Spirits Bright is open to the public from 5:00 to 9:00 PM every night from November 25 through December 31 (closed Christmas Eve, December 24). There are 36 total nights for you to drive through Evergreen Park in Sheboygan which features animated displays using hundreds of thousands of twinkling lights set to music aired on your radio.

Pantry item donations are requested and collected by volunteers at the start of the route. All donated items are delivered to the Sheboygan County Food Bank nightly and their volunteers disburse to food pantries throughout the county. The donations come at a time when need is the greatest so the Making Spirits Bright event is important for so many people. Visitors are reminded that these pantry items may not be consumed immediately so please watch expiration dates (March 2023 and beyond is helpful).
While canned goods come to mind when we hear the word “pantry” please also consider donating personal care items which typically run low at the food pantries. These may include shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorant, tissue and toilet paper, diapers, and baby wipes. If you prefer to contribute food, here are some of the most requested items: peanut butter, canned soup, canned tuna or chicken, oatmeal, cereal, and canned fruit.

The grand total of pantry items donated over the past ten years is over 850,000 pounds! This is one of the main reasons members of the Sheboygan County Rotary Clubs started the event. They saw a need to spread holiday cheer in combination with doing good for the community.

Visitors to Making Spirits Bright may also choose to contribute a monetary donation at the completion of the route. These funds support the building and refurbishing of displays and other costs associated with the lights show. Even if you are not inclined to offer a monetary donation, make sure to receive a complimentary copy of the event booklet from the volunteers in the igloo.

What can you expect at Making Spirits Bright? When you drive the 1.1 mile route, you begin by tuning your radio to 89.1FM. The lights are choreographed to the music played on your radio. A sampling of some of the displays is Whoville, Magical Igloo, Glistening Grove, and Candyland. The perennial favorites are the Icicle Tunnel, Stars, and Racing Arches. In addition to the lights show, you may even catch a glimpse of the local wildlife that live in the park.

If you prefer someone else drive you through the park, or you have a large group that would like to be together, ride the trolley. Boarding begins across the street at Quarryview Center every Friday and Saturday night; it leaves every 45 minutes (from 5:15 to 8:15 PM) and is $2 per person with children under one free. The trolley is fully enclosed and features old-fashioned style with modern conveniences. Decorative wooden bench seating and the wood and brass interior will make you feel like you are riding a street car of yesteryear. And don’t worry about the weather outside; the trolley is heated to assure comfort.

New outside at Quarryview Center is a miniature version of the light curtain/snowstorm found in the park. This was created so you can commemorate your visit and capture photos, When you have done that, head inside to purchase raffle tickets for wreaths specially crafted by professional local designers. Enjoy complimentary entertainment from local musicians. Purchase concessions such as frosted sugar cookies, popcorn, chips, hot chocolate, soda, and coffee. Relaxing with some refreshments in the festive Quarryview setting is a great way to begin or end your Making Spirits Bright evening. The Memory Ornament tree is also found here and you can purchase a customized ornament for $15.

One of the most popular attractions at Quarryview Center is Santa. He’s found in a setting perfect for capturing an annual holiday photo. Bring your own camera or phone though since the volunteers aren’t able to take photos with Santa.

Quarryview Center is open every Friday and Saturday from November 25 through December 23, 5:00 to 9:00 PM. So each Monday through Thursday, you can drive through Making Spirits Bright but won’t be able to include a stop at Quarryview too.

If you are interested in helping behind-the-scenes, there are many ways to volunteer. The success of the event hinges on hundreds of people who invest thousands of hours. The large scale of Making Spirits Bright means work goes on year-round and there are volunteer options for people of all skill levels and availability of time commitment. For details, visit the Volunteer page on the web site at the end of this article.

Gather family, friends and your pets, and add a trip to Making Spirits Bright to your holiday plans. You’ll discover a new tradition that will excite your spirits while warming your heart through the generosity of contributing pantry item donations to those who really need the help.

For all the details visit MakingSpiritsBright.com

Contact Us

Making Spirits Bright
P.O. Box 441
Sheboygan, WI 53082-0441

Follow Us

(920) 918-0432

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