New Rotary Lights features include ice skating rink, Santa Express

For first time, Rotary Lights to include skating rink, walk-in tunnel

We’re just a few weeks away from the opening of Rotary Lights in La Crosse.

Some big changes are coming to Riverside Park for this year’s display, including an ice skating rink. Rotary Lights president Pat Stephens says the rink has long been on the community’s wish list.

“For 22 years, people have written to us, called us, sent us e-mails and so on saying it would really be so nice to be able to ice skate in Riverside Park among three-plus million lights,” said Stephens.

The rink will be built sometime in the third week of November, with the water being added once it’s cold enough to freeze.

Also new this year will be a “Santa Express,” giving kids a unique way to look at the lights with train ride through the park. There will also be a walk-in tunnel, similar to the drive-through tunnel that’s become a staple of the display.

The switch to the Rotary Lights display will be flipped at a ceremony the day after Thanksgiving.

As always, you’re encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate when you enter the park. Last year, Rotary Lights collected 300,000 food items that were then distributed to food pantries around the La Crosse area.