Bentleyville opens its gates for the 2016 season
As the snow hits the ground and Thanksgiving approaches, Duluth’s own Bentleyville has opened its gates to welcome the 2016 season.
Since its start in 2001, Bentleyville has grown from an annual lighting display in the front yard of Nathan Bentley, creator of Bentleyville, to its current home in Bayfront Park.
In past years, 3.5 million bulbs have been used to put on the tour. According to Tim Rogentine, event coordinator for Bentleyville, the attraction will be adding an additional 50,000 bulbs this season.
“We have changed where Santa sits and visits with kids, (added) new tunnels for people to walk through, (and) changed the color of our 128-foot LED Tree from blue to red and green.” Rogentine said.
Over the years Bentleyville has remained a free event due to the help of local volunteers and donations. The Duluth City Council has agreed to cover the estimated $12,000 for electricity this year, although guests are encouraged to give back by bringing unwrapped toys or nonperishable food items for the Salvation Army.
Volunteers start setting up the display in October and work until the season is over on December 26 by working booths and operations.
“We have had many volunteers help with setup and it was one of the best seasons yet,” Rogentine said.
Along with free admission, Bentleyville offers free s’mores, hot chocolate, popcorn and cookies for guests throughout the tour.
Bentleyville will be open 5-9 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays and 5-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays from now until December 26.
Photo courtesy of Rich Hoag/Creative Commons