Thousands of lights, 50 plus light displays, dozens of IBEW Local 159 apprentices, members and retirees, truckloads of equipment and months of preparation all lead up to a flip of the switch this Saturday, November 11, for the Grand Opening of the 2023 Holiday Fantasy in Lights at Madison’s Olin Park.
Plan your visit to the Union-Made 2023 Holiday Fantasy in Lights:
Holiday Fantasy in Lights
November 11- December 31
Olin Park, 1156 Olin Court, Madison WI
Lights on dusk until dawn
Candy canes distributed 4:30pm to 10:00pm
The skills, expertise, and time of IBEW Local 159 union members make this annual holiday tradition possible. The work begins months in advance when IBEW Local 159 retirees weld, bend, and assembly the light displays and then install the lights. IBEW Local 159 apprentices and retirees spend days pounding in stakes, tightening wires, and laboring to erect and secure over 50 holiday light displays around Olin Park.
From Santa Claus to the Wisconsin State Capitol, Puff the Magic Dragon, Frosty the Snowman and more – the Holiday Fantasy in Lights is sure to include all your holiday-time favorites.
“The preparations for Holiday Fantasy in Lights begin in June every year,” stated IBEW Local 159 Business Manager Mike Killian. “This is a true team effort. Retirees stay active with their time working on this project and apprentices get to learn the ropes in a way that creates a deep sense of community and togetherness.”
Will Fulton, IBEW 159 pre-apprentice, learned about electrical work in a high school class and knew it was his calling.
Sam Haak, a first year IBEW Local 159 pre-apprentice, who has been working to secure and light the displays around Olin Park can’t wait to bring his girlfriend to see the finished display he has spent so much time on.
Kyle Cummings, a first year IBEW Local 159 pre-apprentice, has enjoyed getting to run the boom while on site.
Ariana Florin, IBEW Local 159 pre-apprentice, loves getting to work outside and has gained a deep sense of community working together with apprentices and retirees on the Holiday Light project.
And Mark Hoffman, IBEW Local 159 retiree, who will be moonlighting as Santa this holiday season has been working on his Santa Claus beard since June.
IBEW Local 159 members Tom Lemens and Rich Nelson are the co-directors of the Holiday Fantasy in Lights.
“Holiday Fantasy in Lights brings the spirit of Christmas to Madison, IBEW-style,” says Co-Director Rich Nelson.
“Seeing the joy on everyone’s face as they travel through, bringing the kids and hearing all the stories of the different generations who came as kids and now they are bringing their own kids to the lights, that makes all the long hours more than worth it,” explains Co-Director Tom Lemens. “IBEW members are honored to be able to do our part to continue a deeply-loved holiday tradition.”
A thirty-five year tradition
How did the Holiday in Lights begin? In 1989, contractors and the local union worked through a joint committee and brainstormed ways to use their skills to give back to the community. They came together around the idea of building coloring book character-like light displays for the holiday season and the Holiday Fantasy in Lights was born. What started as 10 light displays at Warner Park in 1989, has now grown into over 50 light displays at Olin Park.
Enjoy this free union-made 35-year tradition as you celebrate the holiday season. Holiday Fantasy in Lights runs nightly at Madison’s Olin Park, November 11-December 31, lights on dusk until dawn.