Rotary Winter Wonderland in Marshfield kicks off their best star - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Rotary Winter Wonderland in Marshfield kicks off their best starting weekend


A tradition continues in central Wisconsin with Christmas lights for a cause. The Rotary Winter Wonderland in Marshfield is lighting up the holiday season, all to benefit local food pantries.

Families were showing up in droves to check out the millions of lights on display.

"This is a good way to get people to come out and support a good cause and have fun at the same time," said Pat Hammeke, Ansel's grandmother.

Some families, like the Hammeke family, said the annual display brings everybody together.

"Visiting my grandparents for Thanksgiving, or his grandparents," said Joe Hammeke, gesturing at Ansel, his son. "We did the drive through but that wasn't enough so we just decided to come back and walk through." 

They were enjoying the weather on Sunday and joining in on the spirit of giving. 

"We thought, heck, it's warm, let's get out and really see what's going on and we're glad we did, it's a whole different perspective when you walk around," Pat said. "People need food year-round but when the weather gets bad, bills get worse and around the holidays everybody wants something extra and then it makes it even harder to have your basic food." 

Danielle Nystrom has been volunteering since the event began, 12 years ago. 

She said, "I think it's fun to see the reaction people have when they walk through and obviously the impact that we make on the food pantries is huge." 

Nystrom said for the first time this year there are different performers coming to play in the Gingerbread house. Sunday night the artist was Gingerbread Jams.

"It's really rewarding to see all the hard work throughout the whole year pay off in the next 35 days," said Nystrom. 

There were so many cans and donations that Rotary Winter Wonderland considers this year their best starting weekend ever. 

"You having fun?" Joe asked Ansel. "Got enough chocolate on your face?" 

The event is runs every night from 5:00 p.m to 9:00 p.m until December 31st. 

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