By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Tracked tags show Trail of Lights popular attraction
trail of lights pic
The Great Bend holiday Trail of Lights saw a lot of traffic this year, with visitors from all over the state and nation. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

For over 3,000 folks from around the area and across the country, the holiday trail 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 Convention and Visitors Bureau director, giving an update to the City Council Monday night. It was as open from the Saturday after Thanksgiving through the weekend after New Year’s Eve.

“It’s just kind of interesting to see how that changes and fluctuates,” she said. “There’s no rhyme nor reason to that either.”

The tally comes from the greeters who manned the shack on the south side of Brit Spaugh Park, she said. I” can’t say thanks enough to the people who are willing to go out there and volunteer,” she said.

These community “cheerleaders for the holiday season” handed out visitor information, took donations for the lighting fund, counted cars and recorded where the licence plates were from.

She has tracked the totals since 2011. In that 12-year span, the number has varied from 730 in 2016 (volunteers were only on duty for eight days) to 3,544 in 2012 (there were 28 volunteer days), with the average between 2,000-3,000. 

Trail tourists donated $3,898.49 that will help replace and maintain the bright displays.  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

• Barton, 1,999

• Pawnee, 99

• Stafford, 55

• Rush, 41

• Rice, 40

• Ellsworth, 32

• Edwards, 19

• Sedgwick, 18

• Russell, 17

• Ellis, 16

• Saline, 15

• Pratt 12

• Johnson, 10

• Hodgeman and Ness counties, seven each

• Rooks, six

• Barber and Stanton counties, four each

• Franklin, three

• 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 one tag recorded includedAllen, Clay, Cloud, Coffey, Crawford,  Decatur, Douglas, Elk, Gove, Hamilton, 

Harvey, Jefferson, Jewell, Lincoln, Lyon, 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 South Carolina.