171228_LIGHTS

Rotary Gardens' Holiday Light Show has already set a record attendance this year thanks to an extended schedule and mild December weather. The show remains open nightly through Dec. 31.

Anthony Wahl

JANESVILLE

Rotary Botanical Gardens has already set an attendance record for its Holiday Light Show, and the holiday spectacle still has a few days remaining.

The show has already welcomed more than 44,000 people, surpassing 2015’s high of 35,000. This year’s show also featured record attendance for a single night when it drew nearly 6,400 people Dec. 16, Executive Director Becky Kronberg said.

Being open for extra days and a balmy winter—this recent cold spell notwithstanding—led to the crowd increase, she said.

This was the first time the light show opened Thanksgiving weekend. In its first 21 years, the show typically opened in the second week of December.

Kicking off the Holiday Light Show in November capitalized on the festive mood of Thanksgiving and sparked excitement. The two-day opening drew about 6,000 visitors, Kronberg said.

“Having additional options, additional nights available for people to attend has helped, but more than anything the weather has helped,” she said.

That comment seems odd amid a string of days with single-digit temperatures, but temperatures had been relatively comfortable before the recent cold snap.

The festival attracts guests from as far away as Chicago and Milwaukee. It’s a self-guided walking tour among decorative displays of 425,000 total lights, and concessions are also available, Kronberg said.

The Holiday Light Show runs through Sunday, Dec. 31. Tickets are sold from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., and lights go out at 9 p.m. Admission is $5.

Kronberg said the show “shattered” this year’s goal of 30,000 people. She hopes more people come in the final days because this is Rotary Gardens’ biggest fundraiser of the year, she said.

“We rely on fundraisers and donor support and sponsorship support to sustain the gardens throughout the year,” Kronberg said. “We love to share the magic of these lights with so many people and brighten everyone’s spirit during this holiday season.”

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse