Volunteers have begun setting up displays of lights as part of Enchanted Land Of Lights and Legends at Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Regional Park.
Pine Bluff Festival Association director Kerry Battle is working with others to install the fixtures. He said he wants to attract 115,000 to 120,000 visitors this year. Billed as Arkansas’ largest drive-through display of lights, the attraction is gearing up for its 21st season. The Pine Bluff Festival Association is a nonprofit organization.
“We have more than 1.5 miles and 287 individual displays,” Battle said. “This year and last year we received help from the Department of Correction’s maintenance crew and four employees of the festival association. The DOC employees have been a tremendous help this year. We are elated to have them on board. We do not receive any profit. We do this to enrich the community and I am happy to be a part of it.”
Pine Bluff Mayor Shirley Washington will flick the switch to illuminate the displays of lights in a ceremony at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 21, and Channel 7 News meteorologist Ned Perme will do a forecast from the park. A band will play and lead visitors through the trail of lights, Battle said.
“We will provide transportation from the parking lot at the boat ramp to the front of the Nature Center trail,” Battle said.
The attraction will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. from Nov. 21 to Dec. 31. People will receive an ornament if they donate $10.
“We host this event for free to the community,” Battle said.
Visitors come from throughout Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. Battle intends to count the number of cars who drive into the park by using a device that clicks when a car passes it. One new attraction this year is the Santa Land Arch, which will stretch over the road. The Santa Land Arch is as big as four to five displays, Battle said.
“During this time we are dealing with changing bulbs and making sure electrical parts are working correctly,” Battle said. “We are hard at work. We are very happy to put it on. We want it to be bigger and better every year.”
Pine Bluff/Jefferson County Regional Park borders Lake Langhofer, an extension of the Arkansas River.
“We try to jazz up the displays with changing the color selection of the bulbs, moving displays within the park to new locations and adding bulbs,” Battle said. “We add at least one display each year.”