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Monday, November 20, 2006 9:54:12 AM - Monroe Ohio

Middletown Lights up at 5:30 pm, Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.  The 8th annual Light Up Middletown fantasy light display begins its 2006 event in Smith Park with several expanded displays including an entire herd of animated and lighted deer. Every evening through New Year’s Eve, regardless of the weather, 5:30-9:30 pm, guests may enter at 500 Tytus Avenue, in downtown Middletown and drive down Christmas Tree Lane, through the Tunnel of Lights to circle Smith Pond and enjoy several themed areas with animated light displays.  Admission is by cash donation. All displays are motor coach accessible.


According to chairperson Flo Randall, “It is through the generosity of our guests that we continue to be able to offer Light Up Middletown. Unlike other area displays that charge a set fee, we ask our guests to just drop a  few dollars in the collection bins.  The amount of the donation is strictly the choice of those visiting Light Up. Our only request, is that a donation be made for each vehicle entering the park.”


New this year, Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand to greet children Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 6 pm in a special heated building.  Photos with Santa will be available at $5 donation each.


The traditional animated floating swan will again be in the water, surrounded by a fire-breathing dragon, a sea serpent, penguin village, Santa and the reindeer, a train, gingerbread family, butterfly forest and deer leaping over the roadway. Near the Middletown Hook Field airport, the Light Up air force is on display – a hot air balloon, helicopter and airplane.


As is the custom, several area volunteer organizations will greet guests at the light tunnel to gather survey information. Groups for 2006 are: Monroe Athletic Boosters/Varsity M Club, Middletown Journal-Newspapers in Education, Middletown High School Musical Arts, MHS Success Academy and Girl Scout Troop 3653.


The Grandpa Gang, a group of retired men, has worked for the past several weeks repairing and placing the displays in the park. They then take turns throughout the 38 day run turning the lights on and off each evening and maintaining the displays.


The Light Up Middletown organization is a non-profit group earning money for Middletown park improvements. This year, they not only made a donation to the City park fund but, thanks to grants from the Middletown Community Foundation and others, installed an additional $15,000 plus in electrical service in Smith Park which can be used by other groups holding events there.

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