Festival of Lights opens, honors local law enforcement

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas as today marks the opening day of the Festival of lights at Sinnissippi Park. The popular family attraction is expanding and honoring our fallen heroes.

"This has always been the true kick off in Rockford for the holidays,” said volunteer Ted O’Donnell.

The Festival of Lights opens for their 28th year at Sinnissippi Park. Organizers say they've been planning the festival since July.
"It's exciting to see the faces of the children when they see the lights. It doesn't matter how old you are it's an attractive appeal and it's just beautiful,” said O’Donnell.

Some families make driving through the park a yearly tradition.
"We saw so many other lights that we have never seen before, so I think they get a number 10 for that,” said Rockford Resident Jose Tovar.

What started as 11 displays has now grown to more than 50.

"I can't think of anything more jolly than seeing a bunch of Christmas lights,” said O’Donnell.

The newest one honors local police. The festival says it’s one of their most meaningful displays.

"We feel that we have one of the best police organizations and we wanted to show support to them and we wanted it right at the front so people could see it as they come in."

The festival also added a tunnel of 23,000 lights. They say they're hoping to keep expanding every year with more displays and attractions.

"Now we're at, let's see how big we can get it! It's wonderful to see the growth,” said O’Donnell.

Organizers say they expect more than 1,100 cars to come through tonight. The festival runs each weekend during the month of December. It will be open 24 hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas day.