ALTON, Ill. - For several years, the self-proclaimed ‘Grandpa Gang’ has been putting on a holiday light show in Alton, Illinois. The volunteer group said thieves stole copper wiring from them as they were putting the display up this year at Rock Springs Park and feared it could be the last straw that finally puts an end to their run.
But fortunately, the City of Alton is stepping in to help.
“Last year we had over 30,000 people that went through the park to look at the lights and the Grandpa Gang…they’re very gracious. They don’t keep any of the money; it goes to local charities,” said Alton Mayor Brant Walker. “All the money goes back into the community, local charities.
According to the mayor, thieves stole almost 2,000 feet of copper wiring that powers the lights to the Christmas Wonderland display. The Grandpa Gang was so frustrated they were ready to throw in the towel.
“We had a meeting with them and they decided not to throw back in the towel,” Walker said. “We’re working with them to get the lights back up for our kids.”
But who is now watching the two million lights in Alton’s Rock Springs Park?
“So the nice thing about the park is it’s accessible. The bad thing about the park is it’s accessible from every corner,” Walker said. “So we have our Grinch patrol, there’s someone in the park every night from 10 p.m. at night until 6 a.m. in the morning.”
And the Christmas Wonderland tradition will continue the day after Thanksgiving. And this mayor’s message to the Grinch who stole the wiring?
“You’re not going to stop Christmas in Alton so nice try but not in this city,” Walker said. “For whatever reason why you chose to try and inflict whatever damage on the community, it didn`t work. So, go away.”