Manito Park’s annual holiday lights event returns Saturday evening on the South Hill, this year with more lights.
The half-mile course through the park is a wonderland of lights, stars, reindeer, woodland critters, gingerbread men, snowmen and snowflakes.
“Every year we add more lights and more displays,” said Kelly Brown, director of Friends of Manito. She estimates they now have about 3 million lights.
The Friends organize the free show along with Spokane Parks and Recreation, while community sponsors help fund it.
The light show used to be inside the park’s Gaiser Conservatory, but transitioned to an outdoor event during the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the fourth year of this new tradition, though this time there will be more walk-thru nights and fewer drive-thru nights.
There are only two driving dates: Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9-10. The event will continue as a walk-thru only from Monday, Dec. 11 to Tuesday, Dec. 19. The show will run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. each night.
The drive-thru is recommended for those with mobility issues or sensitivity to cold weather, so the show can be enjoyed from the comfort of a warm vehicle.
The route begins near the Park Bench Café, passes under then over the historic rock arch bridge on Loop Drive, goes past the Rose Garden and exits onto 21st Avenue.
On the drive-thru dates, cars should enter along 25th Avenue and turn north at Tekoa Street or Manito Boulevard to funnel toward the Park Bench Café. Volunteers and police officers will help direct traffic. Cars should arrive no more than 15 minutes before the show opens to prevent early congestion.
Walk-thru nights will have hot cocoa for sale, food trucks and music performances in a warming tent between the Rose Garden and Perennial Garden. Santa will make a special visit on Dec. 15.
“We are just happy we can bring something really joyful to the community,” Brown said.