Lebanon's Winter Wonderland!
If you are looking for millions of lights set to the latest heart thumping music, you are in the wrong place.
(We only have a few thousand lights in our display.)
If you are looking for a family friendly, nostalgic look back in time with just a hint of modern day, then here we are!
This annual event is a step back in time, a trip to a much simpler era with scenes depicting several of the area's attractions, wonderful childhood memories, and fantastic ideas.
A trip through Lebanon's Winter Wonderland is truly different from other attractions in the area.
A beautiful Victorian style holiday show that you will enjoy as you meander through the mile-long road. Though mostly on level ground, there is a sharp turn down in a ravine that may prevent larger vehicles from making the trek around the park. Please be advised and plan accordingly.
(There is also a 5 ton load limit on the Horner Park Lake dam.)
Watch out for the wild deer living in the park as they wander through the light displays. And, of course, watch the vehicle ahead of you.
All are welcomed to stop and look at any point! Just please do it safely.
It's a view of the holidays that everyone remembers!
Put your car in slow, dim your lights and stop to take a close look at all the hand painted scenes and wonderful reminders of a much simpler time.
(Please be very careful in the gulley at the hair-pin turn.)
Horner Park is a 58-acre recreational park located at 11113 Widicus Road, Lebanon, Illinois. Though closed to vehicle traffic during the day every winter, it is open for said vehicles to see a Winter Wonderland each evening.
The holiday display is open every year from the weekend before Thanksgiving through the end of the year. Opening day is in sync with the yearly Victorian Holiday Celebration in downtown Lebanon.
Originating in 2008, Winter Wonderland uses all funds donated at the gate to pay the bills (electricity and park rental, mostly) and to continue with the display. Maintenance of the existing display, and adding to it are our primary objective. There are no paid staff, just a handful of dedicated volunteers wanting to keep alive an old fashion experience for generations to come.
About the Displays
The Salute to the Military display brings many visitors from Scott AFB. The Respect for First Responders was built by a local EMT, Julie Hansen, and her family. A life-size Nativity built under the west pavilion, was donated by the churches of Lebanon. Lebanon 4-H members and their families built the Recognition of Midwest Farmers display. The O'Fallon IL Boy Scouts built the Penguin Village. Lebanon High School Art Department put their hearts into building a huge Gingerbread Town.
The Victorian Village and Mermaid House was built by the Centralia Illinois Prison Workshop. We supplied the wood and paint and they did the rest-perhaps the most significant community involvement of all!
McKendree Art students built the Santa's Workshop - always a delight with its 3 dimensional display. Our 'In Memory of 'Angels have become a community favorite. Watch for the Light House on the Lake as the beacon shines over the water. The lighthouse was built by Rick Schmitt and Family.
Irene's Garden was built in memory of Irene Sulana, a LWW volunteer who died of cancer in 2009. She envisioned a beautiful garden full of butterflies and flowers for children to enjoy in the midst of winter. We were able to tell Irene the future plans for the garden two days before her death. More than a dozen people started working on her garden that week and would continue working on it for the next year. The final garden is beautiful and worth stopping to look at all the tiny details that love put into the display.
The current annimated light show (nick named "Blinky") is a work of love from Al & Peg Gerdes. The "props" have been hand built, down to the last pixel. All in all, there are 9,011 RGB Pixels in this 100' wide area. That is 27,033 control channels that are individually addressed and sequenced for each and every song and announcement.
Tune your FM radio to 90.5 to listen to the show.
On your way around the park, take a look across the lake at what is known as "the point". The lighhouse heads up our point display. Along with a sailing boat made of light, a 30 foot tall light tree, and several devices from the earliest version of the animated light show present you with a stunning visual across the water.
Landscaping designs, a host of Polar Bears, Deer (both cut-out and real!) are through-out the park. There are also beautiful professional light scenes to delight the whole family. Don't forget to check-out the one-ton forty-foot tall Santa Claus waving good-bye as you exit the park!
(Editor's Note - due to construction on the new park restrooms, Santa is taking a break this year. He is scheduled to return in 2017.)
Winter Wonderland is an enormous community wide event complimenting Lebanon's historic downtown, which is characterized by a classic Victorian style.
We do not charge to go through the display but donations are requested to help defray the cost of running the exhibit and assist in buying new lights each year. Thank you for your donation.
Please come back and see what we do with the funds raised.