Laurie Light Park Attracts Visitors
LAURIE - The Lake of the Ozarks stays quiet during the cooler seasons, but one holiday tradition has been attracting local and out-of-state visitors for years. At the Enchanted Village of Lights you will find 27 acres full of 200 displays and more than 20,000 light bulbs. The drive-thru is a holiday tradition that has been running for nearly two decades. "I've been coming here since I was two with my grandma and grandpa," said Rachel Johnson.
Bob O'Bryan and Susann Huff carry the torch that has kept the Lake of the Ozarks tradition alive for about the past ten years. "I just enjoy it, in fact, I keep busy, I came down here, retired, and haven't retired yet," said O'Bryan. "I love Christmas, I love decorating, I do this and then I turn around and decorate the American legion and then I decorate my home like this, so it's just, it's always been one of my favorite holidays," said Huff. Huff decorates every little detail, all the way down to her fingernails.
Preparing for the village of the lights takes about six to eight weeks to complete, but they manage to finish decorating with a little help from the community. "They've got nothing out here they wouldn't try to do, sometimes they shouldn't but they do," said O'Bryan. "Average age of the enchanted village volunteers is 74 years old," said Huff, and their hard holiday work pays off.
In a place that generates a lot of revenue in the summer, the drive-thru holiday light show gives people a reason to take another trip in the winter. "It gets backed up there a little bit, but we have about eight thousand people come through here," said O'Bryan. "This year should be, I'm predicting another record year," said Huff. The drive through light park is not just attracting locals, it also brings in out-of-towners. "We ask or look at the license plate and sometimes I ask them where they're from...we have a map that we put stick on magnets to show which states people come from," said O'Bryan. "I've seen people come from Kentucky, some come from Wisconsin, they don't really see a lot of this around different places, they see small straight drive through, here when you drive around, anywhere you look there's lights," said O'Bryan.
"It's just a tradition," said Huff; it is a tradition that is celebrating 19 years. The Enchanted Village of Lights lit up on November 19th and will run through January first. You can visit the light park at the Laurie Fairgrounds.