Work starts early getting area holiday light displays ready to dazzle

LADUE, Mo. - When it’s your job to help get folks in the holiday mood, then you have to start early. No snow in our forecast but plenty of snowflakes are going up in Tilles Park, home of Winter Wonderland, one of the many popular holiday lights displays around the St. Louis region.  And they must get work early to make sure everything is ready on time.

Winter Wonderland features more than a million lights and those take a long time to install. The towering trees are decked first, with work starting in early October. Then the scenery comes together, filling the park with tidbits from favorite holiday tales.

Across the river, they will be celebrating fifty years of the Way of Lights at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The story of the birth of Jesus is paired with winter scenes and all told in one and a half million lights. Workers start hanging the lights while many still just have visions of pumpkin lattes dancing in their heads.

Workers make the most of still mild Fall days to get as much done as early as possible.

"It takes that long. Believe it or not, we’ve already been out here for a couple of weeks. As you can see there are items already out," said Maggie Martin, St. Louis County Parks. "And it’s also nice to get some good weather. No one really wants to be out in the rain while they’re plugging in things. We like these nice days."

The Way of Lights in Belleville opens November 22. And tickets are already on sale for the popular Winter Wonderland Walks where families, even pets, can stroll through the Tilles Park lights. There may even be a special visitor from the North Pole!  These usually sell out, so get tickets at

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