Last month’s enormously crowd-pleasing Winter Wonderland drive-thru attraction in the Outlook & District Regional Park proved to be not only a hit with the public, but a whopping success from a fundraising perspective thanks to the generosity of those who arrived to take in the dozens of colourful and creative Christmas lights and displays.
The event ran for ten nights from December 14th to the 23rd for three hours each evening, with organizers asking motorists at the park gate for a monetary donation of whatever they could give.
As it turns out, what the collective public gave blew all expectations into the sky and perhaps up to the North Pole itself.
The final amount tallied came to an incredible $9,986.50, collected from a total of 1044 vehicles that ventured through the park over the course of the ten-night event. According to park administrator Kaitlyn Gifford, attendees came from all over to take in the attraction, including Saskatoon, Hanley, Rosetown, Dinsmore, and other surrounding communities.
Such successful numbers blew away Kaitlyn and her staff’s expectations for the inaugural edition of the Winter Wonderland. She and Cara Drury, who also helped spearhead the event, were ecstatic to see how much of a hit it was with the public each night.
“Cara and I took turns closing up for the night, and we would let each other know the totals - we just couldn't believe how many people were attending and how generous everyone was,” said Kaitlyn. “It was so much fun seeing the cars cruising through the sites, and seeing people smiling and enjoying themselves.”
There may have been a night or two where Old Man Winter made his presence felt in the park, which required the odd fix-up here or there, but overall, the event was fortunate to have good weather that helped bring in steady numbers of people.
“There were a couple windy nights, it rained a bit, and there was also a blizzard – Luke (Lockhart) was always ahead of the game with the grader and the sanding truck, so he deserves some kudos for that!” said Gifford. “A few nights we would have to run around standing up trees and signs that had blown over, or uncover the inflatable Santa's before show time, but overall, we had nice warm temperatures, so that was a major bonus!”
Gifford says the money collected from donations at the gate will go right back into the park.
“The money donated will go towards improvements in the Park,” she said. “We have some campsites and buildings that need attention, and of course, there is the old pool site which needs to be addressed.”
The astounding donations total, the impressive vehicle numbers, and the all-important smiles on peoples’ faces who drove through the Outlook & District Regional Park’s Winter Wonderland attraction all seem to point toward one agreeable conclusion: while it may have been the first-ever edition of such an event, everyone certainly hopes it becomes a traditional yearly one in Outlook moving forward.