Since beginning as a small display of just 5,000 lights erected by Waterloo native Bill Weiler in 1994, Waterloo’s ‘Wonders of Winter, a Festival of Lights in Waterloo Park’ has become an annual regional tradition that lights up the night in the most magical and festive of ways from December 2 to New Years Eve and all are invited to not only come and marvel at the more than 100,000 lights but also to join in all kinds of festive fun.
Beginning at dusk every evening, and running through 10.30pm every night, the lighted sculptures create a winter wonderland that has to be seen to be believed.
But that’s not all that’s on offer. Even when he is not there in person children can speak to Santa on the phone at the Santa’s Hotline hut and they can see his elves hard at work making toys for all the good girls and boys in Santa’s Animated Workshop. On December 23rd this year the man himself will be stopping by to take free photos with his fans (and who isn’t a fan of this jolly man?) from 630pm-830pm.
No matter which evening you choose to attend there is always hot chocolate and steamy hot apple cider on hand – for just $1 per cup – and there are free horse drawn trolley rides for all.
One of the most amazing things about the Wonders of Winter Festival is that it is completely volunteer driven. Many local businesses pitch in to help with the costs and all of the lighted displays are created and maintained by a hardworking group of local retired electricians and engineers. This is a true community effort and a great demonstration of just what a great community we live in!