The Walkway of Lights is a Christmas tradition to the Marion community.
“I grew up in Marion, so we went almost every year growing up,” Margaret Martens, a Marion resident, said. “I’ve gone at least 10 or 15 years.”
The Walkway of Lights brings Marion a great sense of pride and happiness.
Rose Cadena, an administrator for the city of Marion and the Walkway of Lights said, “I think it gives our community something special that not all cities can say they have.”
Residents, such as Martens, agree. “I think it’s something that we’re proud of having as a community in Marion,” Martens said.
While the lights are beloved by the community and visitors alike, a lot of preparation goes into getting everything set up.
“There are many preparations that go into the Walkway of Lights before it gets up and running,” Cadena said. “It takes a large group of people and board members that make this happen.”
The Walkway of Lights wouldn’t be possible without the many sponsors and volunteers. Over 100 individuals, families, businesses and charities sponsor the displays, and many other people volunteer at the toll booth.
The Walkway of Lights has 150 light displays to prepare, made by the company GP Designs.
“Depending on the time of year and the size of the display, it may take anywhere from one to four weeks (to make),” Rick Dillon of GP Designs said.
Marion hosts several events in addition to the Walkway of Lights. These events include Breakfast with Santa, Winter Magic in the Gardens, Family Night, and A Folk Christmas Evening.
The Walkway of Lights is open 6-10 p.m. now until Dec. 31 every night. It costs $5 a car and allows for unlimited visits during this holiday season.