It's another successful year for the Fantasy of Lights - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

It's another successful year for the Fantasy of Lights

Easter Seals announced its final totals of 2012's Fantasy of Lights on Saturday.

The group says community support allowed the Fantasy of Lights to raise an estimated total of $157,466.  

Officials estimate the proceeds will help to fund as many as 3,280 sessions of physical, occupational and speech therapy for tri-state children and adults with disabilities served by the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center. 

The estimated totals were announced Saturday at Garvin Park, as dozens of volunteers from Teamsters Local 215, IBEW Local 16, and NECA enjoyed a thank-you lunch donated by the event's title sponsor, G.D. Ritzy's.

The volunteers, who play a major role in making the event possible, spent the day dismantling the 62 elaborate light displays and transporting them to storage.

The "magical mile of holiday lights" in Evansville's Garvin Park was open from Thanksgiving through New Year's Day.  Increased vehicle traffic, attendance at a walk-through night, and extra donations contributed to the event's success:

-A total of 12,493 cars, trucks, vans, buses, horse-drawn carriages and other vehicles drove through the 2012 Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights. That was an increase of 943 vehicles over the previous year.

-Approximately 1,780 people participated in a special walk-through night on Dec. 3rd, when the park was closed to vehicles but welcomed pedestrians.  Admissions and donations to the walk-through, which was hosted by volunteer group "Team J-Man Gives", raised over $9,200 of the Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights total.

-Donations at Garvin Park also increased.  Drive-through visitors collectively gave $16,071 above the actual cost of admission ($863 more than attendees donated last year).

Over all, this year's estimated net total was approximately $15,400 above the amount raised by the 2011 Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights. Only the 2009 show, when $160,850 was raised, was more successful than the 2012 event. 

Since 1994, Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights has now raised net proceeds of approximately $2,533,720 to help underwrite therapy.

The Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center offers a sliding fee scale for medical rehabilitation services, and no one is turned away due to inability to pay for therapy. The nonprofit headquartered at 3701 Bellemeade Avenue provides a wide range of services to more than 5,600 individuals from 30 area counties. 

Officials say the 20th annual Ritzy's Fantasy of Lights is already in the planning stages. It will open on Thanksgiving night—Nov. 28, 2013—and will run through Jan. 1, 2014. 

Companies, organizations, churches and families interested in sponsoring a light display in next year's show are invited to contact Easter Seals Director of Special Events, Laura Roettger, at 812-437-2627.

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