For over 2,000 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 2,484 cars were counted making the colorful rounds, said Christina Hayes, Great Bend community coordinator and Convention and Visitors Bureau director. It was as open from the Saturday after Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve.
The tally comes from the greeters who manned the shack on the south side of Brit Spaugh Park, 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.
Trail tourists donated $4,541.35 that will help replace and maintain the bright displays. This year, there was very little damage to the lights so the funds collected will go further, Hayes said.
This year, the top five counties were Barton with 1,895, Pawnee with 134 Stafford with 54, Rice with 52 and Ellis with 32. The top five states were Kansas with 2,399, Texas with 11, Colorado with 11, Oklahoma with nine and Missouri with six.
“Although there were way fewer days with greeters at the park who recorded 662 cars (in 2016), they actually raised more last year than they did this year,” Hayes said. “We aren’t sure why, but last year we received around $7,000. But in normal good and steady years we get anywhere from $3,000-$4,000.”
The top states in 2016 were Kansas, Oklahoma and Colorado, and there were only three from Texas.
Here’s a breakdown of the number of car tags that visited the Trail of Lights
• Barton County, 1,895
• Pawnee County, 134
• Stafford County, 54
• Rice County, 52
• Ellis County, 32
• Russell County, 26
• Sedgwick County, 21
• Rush County, 18
• Ellsworth County, 16
• Saline County, 16
• Edwards County, 11
• Pratt County, 8
• Johnson and Reno counties, seven each
• McPherson and Shawnee counties, six each
• Ness, Riley and Douglas counties, five each
• Ford, Harvey, Rooks and Scott counties, four each
• Finney, Kingman, Leavenworth, Grant, Marion and Lincoln counties, three each
• Cloud, Hodgeman, Lyon, Marshall, Norton, Pottawatomie, Seward, Cherokee and Dickinson counties, two each
Counties with one tag recorded included: Allen, Barber, Butler, Crawford, Franklin, Geary, Gray, Greenwood, Jefferson, Kiowa, Labette, Lane, Logan, Miami, Montgomery, Morton, Neosho, Phillips, Sheridan, Wabaunsee, Wichita, Wilson and Wyandotte.
Other states were Nebraska, California, Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois, New York, New Mexico, Florida, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Utah, Wisconsin, Washington, Alabama, Arizona, Maryland, Minnesota, South Dakota, Oregon and Vermont.