La Crosse’s Rotary Lights adds new fundraising opportunities, changes entrance for drivers

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — The 28th year of Rotary Lights is just around the corner.

As volunteers start preparing this week, there are a lot of new aspects to look forward to.

Visitors will see a new igloo and ice castle and enter the park from a new area.

Rotary Lights is adding even more opportunities to help the community, like a new teddy bear for purchase that will help support Wafer and their first-ever external food drive.

Folks can drop off food at 19 area companies, including the News 8 Now station.

La Crosse Police are also changing the way drivers get into the park.

The department worked with a traffic engineer to try to ease the nearly two-mile backups on roads north of the Riverside Park entrance.

“We’ve developed a new traffic flow pattern that will bring the traffic in from Front Street to the south, and exit them down Front Street to the south,” said Assistant Chief Jason Melby. “The traffic will come in off of 2nd down at Cameron, and the flow will come in, go through the park, and then work its way back out to the south.”

With all the new additions, Rotary Lights needs volunteer help, especially during take down in January.

“Some people are a little less ambitious at that particular week, but it’s Wisconsin, you gotta deal with it and everything needs to come down that week in January so we never have enough help that first week in January,” said Pat Stephens, president of Rotary Lights.

A lot of things have changed this year, but as usual–the lights will be open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.