January 18—For more than 3,000 people from across the area and across the country, the Christmas drive led to Great Bend.
For the Christmas Trail of Lights, a total of 3,136 cars were counted making the colorful rounds, said Christina Hayes, Great Bend community coordinator and director of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, providing an update to the City Council Monday for the night. It was open from the Saturday after Thanksgiving to the weekend after New Year’s Eve.
“It’s interesting to see how that changes and fluctuates,” he said. “There’s no rhyme or reason to that either.”
The count comes from greeters who tended the shack on the south side of Brit Spaugh Park, he said. I can’t thank people enough who are willing to get out there and volunteer,” she said.
These community “holiday season cheerleaders” delivered information to visitors, received donations for the lighting fund, counted the cars and recorded where the license plates were from.
He has tracked the totals since 2011. In that 12-year span, the number has ranged from 730 in 2016 (volunteers were only on duty for eight days) to 3,544 in 2012 (there were 28 days of volunteering), with an average of 2,000. -3,000.
Trail tourists donated $3,898.49 which will help replace and maintain the bright screens. In the three previous years the total was $4,645.24 in 2021, $4,900 in 2020 and $3,569 in 2019.
This year, the top five counties were Barton with 1,999, Pawnee with 99, Stafford with 55, Rice with 49 and Ellsworth with 32. The top five states were: Kansas with 2,509; Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas, all with 12; and Missouri with eight.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of car tags that visited the Trail of Lights
—Hodgeman and Ness counties, seven each
—Barber and Stanton counties, four each
—Finney, Kingman, Leavenworth, Grant, Marion, and Lincoln counties, three each
—Anderson, Finney, Geary, Graham, Grant, Jackson, Marion, McPherson, Neosho, Phillips, Scott, and Shawnee counties, two each
Counties with a registered label included Allen, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Crawford, Decatur, Douglas, Elk, Gove, Hamilton,
Harvey, Jefferson, Jewell, Lincoln, Lyons, Marshall, Mitchell, Norton, Osage, Pottawatomie, Smith, and Washington.
Additional states included Nebraska, Florida, Illinois, Arkansas, California, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, and Carolina. from the south.