LOGAN — Chief Logan State Park will soon light up for the holidays with its annual Christmas in the Park display.
Since its beginning in 1994 by the late Tom Rose Tomblin, Christmas in the Park has been the premier seasonal holiday lighting display in southern West Virginia. According to Christmas in the Park’s President Tim Tomblin, between 60,000 to 80,000 vehicles from throughout the region and beyond visit Chief Logan State Park each year to see the huge displays.
This year’s installment will feature a few new displays, including a waving Santa Claus saying “ho, ho, ho,” a snow globe and some new military displays by the park pool. Returning this year will be a Christmas tree ornament display, located between the train and the park museum, decorated by local schools.
Another mainstay that will be available this year will be the gift shop featuring coal items, locally made artisan ornaments, toys and more. The gift shop will be open each evening from 6-8 p.m. until Dec. 23.
Starting Dec. 3, the Santa Land attraction will also be available. Santa Land is located inside the museum and will be open 6-8 p.m. each evening except Sundays until Dec. 23.
Christmas in the Park is nonprofit and is made possible by volunteers who spend hours each day setting up the lights beginning in early October. The attraction is free to the public, but volunteers consisting of local church groups, civic groups, etc. will stand outside collecting donations each evening.
“We’re the largest drive-through lighting display in southern West Virginia,” Tomblin said. “It’s a nonprofit group that puts it on. It’s free to anybody, but we do take up donations. They started this to have something local and have some tourism come in, and for the local people whether they could afford to go, because a lot of the other places charge you to come through, and we want it to be free for the people of Logan County.”
Christmas in the Park opens Thanksgiving night, Nov. 28, and will be open until Dec. 31. The lights turn on at 5:30 p.m. and will turn off at 10 p.m. each evening.
Tomblin notes for people coming to see the lights that it’s best to enter Chief Logan State Park from its regular entrance on W.Va. 10 instead of the new road at the rear entrance of the park near the pool.
“The road over the mountain coming from the Convention Center to the park is not always open, it depends on the weather, but you actually get a better view of Christmas in the Park if you come the Route 10 entrance — the regular park entrance — because that’s the way we direct it,” Tomblin said.