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Calling all ‘Grandpas’: Volunteers needed for Alton’s Christmas Wonderland

Volunteer meeting set for Aug. 9 at Muenstermann Pavilion in Gordon Moore Park, Alton.

The holiday transformation of Rock Spring Park in Alton, Ill., will begin in early September, and new Christmas Wonderland volunteers are always needed to help put together displays to ensure the holidays sparkle in 2022.

An informational meeting for volunteers is planned for 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 9 at Muenstermann Pavilion in Gordon Moore Park, Alton.

The Grandpa Gang, which coordinates the annual Christmas event, is looking for volunteers to help with tasks like setting up wooden displays and hanging lights throughout the park. Volunteers are able to work any time between 8 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday and work continues through the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

Volunteers are not required to work each day of set up. Set up in the park is expected to begin at 8 a.m. on Monday, Sept. 12.

If interested in volunteering but unable to attend the Aug. 10 meeting, volunteers should contact Dick Alford at (618) 781-2482 or Dave Davis at (618) 419-1969.

“We always look forward to meeting new volunteers and working together to make Christmas Wonderland shine,” Dick Alford, head Grandpa, notes. “This is a wonderful opportunity to do something great for the community and all the thousands of people who look forward to the light show each year.”

Rock Spring Park has been decorated for the Christmas season for over 25 years with Christmas Wonderland. This year’s holiday light display will begin Friday, Nov. 25 and run through Monday, Dec. 27. Christmas Wonderland comes to life from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

The Grandpa Gang, a group of retirees and volunteers, organizes and designs a Christmas spectacular of cascading lights, tunnels and displays for visitors and locals to enjoy each year. Each evening, the park sparkles against the night sky with three million glistening lights, all hung by volunteers and the “gang.” Visitors and families can turn off their headlights and let the holiday displays carry them through the magical scene. Even a few of Alton’s historical figures visit, including displays of Robert Wadlow, the World’s Tallest Man, placing the star on the Christmas tree and the legendary Piasa Bird carrying a bag of gifts for the kids.

Returning to Christmas Wonderland after a two-year absence is Santa’s House. Visitors will be able to take self-portraits with Santa for free.

Each year, Christmas Wonderland warms the hearts and helps families and friends capture the holiday spirit. All of the proceeds from the attraction’s seasonal revenue are returned to the community in the form of donations to local charities.

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