Record 20K vehicles pass through Fantasy of Lights

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) More than 103,000 people visited the Fantasy of Lights in 2017, the most ever, according to the event’s management.

Blue Jacket announced Wednesday that a record 20,680 vehicles and an estimated 103,400 people passed through the 23rd annual Fantasy of Lights at Fort Wayne’s Franke Park between Nov. 21 and Dec. 31. Attendance was 3 percent higher than the previous record in 2015 and 10 percent higher than 2016, organizers said.

“We are so proud of the response time of our field team, who mitigated what seemed to be daily issues from traffic conundrums, electrical dysfunction, burned out light strands and a few bouts of vandalism,” said Tony Hudson, Executive Director of Blue Jacket. “Through all the issues, our dedicated field team and hundreds of volunteers certainly contributed to a successful year, and we can’t thank them enough.”

Organizers added 15 new displays, a half-mile more of displays, and allowed vehicles to tune into interactive broadcasts in 2017. The Fantasy of Lights expanded into the Foellinger Theatre parking lot and rented the Pond Pavilion for 40 of the 42 nights to serve concessions, sell souvenirs and allow guests to visit.

The additions allowed the Fantasy of Lights to overcome those bumps in the road. Hudson said displays were vandalized three times this year as well as everyday mechanical issues. All that cost organizers more, but more money was also made.

Hudson told NewsChannel 15 previous that he expected to bring in about $100,000 from the event.

It all helps Blue Jacket in its mission to train and provide employment opportunities to disadvantaged people.