BENSON – For the first time in almost 50 years, the Meadow Lights will not shine this year. The Grinch responsible for the decision is COVID. The Johnson Family made the announcement this morning.
“We have debated and debated what to do,” said Ronina Tart whose family operates Meadow Lights. “Not knowing what is going to happen with the virus, and flu season coming, our main reason was to keep our customers and employees safe. We don’t know how we can do that. We can control the people in the candy store and on the train but we cannot control the amount of people who come and lineup. Not being able to control that, we want safety first, when you have that many people in one place.”
“I guess you can compare it to the State Fair. We can’t control the number of people in the parking lot and we decided it was better to be safe,” Tart said. “A lot of our customers are senior citizens. They are having a hard enough time as it is. I would not want to think about a group of senior citizens coming out here and getting sick.”
The Meadow Lights started when Roy D. Johnson began decorating his home and yard for his children to enjoy. Each year more and more decorations were added. When the candy store was added in 1994 things really began to grow.
This Christmas will be the first year the display on Godwin Lake Road in the Meadow community will be dark since it was started by Mr. Johnson.
“We will still decorate our personal homes but there will be no display lights,” Mrs. Tart said. There will be no train rides and no candy store to enjoy. “It was a hard decision for us.”
“The celebration of Christmas is really about our Lord Jesus Christ. As much as people enjoy the lights we still want people to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas,” she said.
Tart says the Meadow Lights will be back “bigger and better” in 2021. The lights will open next year on November 19, 2021.