I love Christmas, not just because of the presents but because of all the decorations and lights and the warmth of the season—Ashley Tisdale
Every Christmas there are tons of holiday themed events from light festivals to Christmas Tree lightings. But if you are looking for something that’s a cut above, then look no further than Bentleyville.
What makes Bentleyville different? For starters, it is strictly native to Minnesota; it is massive; it’s extremely family friendly—even more so than other seasonal Holiday events, and it is completely free.
There is a parking fee of five dollars per car load, or a person can take a train to the event for a slightly higher cost, but the entrance and snacks once inside Bentleyville are 100% free.
The annual festival that has came to be known as Bentleyville has grown exponentially over the years. It’s so large that it is now held in Duluth’s 10-acre Bayfront Festival Park during the frigid months of November and December.
As the sun goes down and a chill starts to move across the icy shores of Lake Superior, Bentleyville comes to life. It runs nightly from Thanksgiving to December 26, with the gates opening at 5 pm.
Visitors to Bentleyville are treated to a spectacular array of brightly lit Yuletide displays, which cover the entire park. Fabulously designed illuminated walk-through canopies crisscross through the park and connect to other sections.
There are several big attractions for kids. Santa Claus is there every night till Christmas Eve. Rudolph is available for pictures, and Mrs. Clause is on hand to tell stories and hand out candy canes.
The free snack stations also draw crowds. The Cookie House with its cookies, coffee and hot coco is a must stop. The Marshmallow Hut and fire pits for roasting marshmallows attracts a lot of people, so does the popular Popcorn Shack. Again…all of these are no charge.
In the center of Bentleyville stands a remarkable animated Christmas Tree. It is a 128′ high manufactured marvel that towers above the festival. The tree has more than 150 thousand LED lights. Its frame is made from 17 tons of iron and 24 yards of concrete. The star that crowns the tree is actually an eight foot ball of steel with 28, three foot long, spikes pointing out of it.
When fully lit the Bentleyville Tree has a cutting presence. It pierces the darkness and welcomes visitors from miles away. It is easily seen from the interstate going into Duluth.
The “Tour of Lights” is a perfect harbinger for the Holiday season. The cold weather enhances the experience and the light displays warm the spirit. Christmas will seem more magical and exciting for adults and children alike after a night in Bentleyville.