26 - November 2017 Woodall’s Campground Management The light show, which runs from Nov. 17 through Jan. 7, also features a photographer providing photos with Santa, a wagon or train ride through the light show and a shop to pick up souvenirs or gifts. Jones said that they typically start putting lights up in September and that it takes until April to get every- thing taken down. She said that if campground owners are thinking of starting their own shows they need to decide if it is going to fit the lifestyle they want. “I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but this is a full-year commitment,” she said. “I know parks that have tried this and stopped, because it wasn’t working for them.We all operate small businesses and it takes a large invest- ment to get this off the ground, and that is a big deal for owners.” Bridget Bender, owner of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Camp-Resort in Caledonia, Wis., said the park launched its light show in 2009 and that it now features an estimated 1.5 million lights. The show has a mile drive and Bender said they shut down at the beginning of October to begin putting up the lights. “We plan what it is going to look like before we even begin to put up the lights,” she said, adding that the show allows the campground to carry over some staff during the winter months. She said that first-timers need to plan way ahead and ask plenty of questions early in the year. “We don’t create new things every year,” said Bender. “We remake what we already have, move things to differ- ent areas.” Campgrounds Can Help Ring In the Holidays show. In its 28th year, Jones said they custom-make all of their own displays — and that they are adding a half-mile of driving time this year. “We bought the land for this display and it just happened to have a camp- ground attached to it,” Jones said.“We didn’t know anything about how to run a campground when we first bought this place.” create an additional revenue source during what might be traditionally a slow period. One park that truly gets into the holiday festivities is Yogi Bear’s Jelly- stone Camp-Resort in Eureka, Mo. Branded as Santa’s Magical Kingdom, Kathy Jones, owner of the park, said they install more than three million lights in their drive-through light By the time the holidays roll around most northern campgrounds have closed up shop for the winter. Cabins sit empty, the pool is drained and owners are planning for the coming season. However, hosting holiday- themed events is growing rapidly — not only in southern states, but also northern ones as well. The right event can draw people to your park and Celebratingtheholidaysatyourcampground—likethislarge lightshowatYogiBear’sJellystoneCamp-ResortinCaledonia, Wis. — can provide a valuable marketing opportunity.