Bentleyville Castle at the Entrance of Bentleyville. Photo Credit: Alexandrea Jerome (ajerome1@css.edu)

REVIEW: Bentleyville Tour of Lights

Allissah Jerome
ajerome@css.edu

Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year. Hot cocoa, candy canes, eggnog, family, friends, presents, and Christmas lights; what more could we ask for out of a holiday? If you’re looking for great Christmas lighting displays this December, don’t spend too much time driving up and down the streets of Duluth. Instead, head on over to the Bentleyville Tour of Lights display at the Bayfront Festival Park.

Bentleyville is America’s largest free walk-through light display, but it wasn’t always this way. To sum up it’s history, Nathan Bentley began creating a drive-by light display in 2001, which eventually turned into a “walk-through” light display and gained the nickname “Bentleyville.” In 2004, when Bentley moved to Esko, so did his light display. After five years and over 72,000 people visiting Bentleyville at his house, Bentley was offered an opportunity to move Bentleyville to the Bayfront Festival Park. On November 27th, 2009, Bentleyville opened for the first time at the Bayfront Park. One of the tours main attractions is the 128’ animated tree and it was added in 2010.

This year, as with years past, Bentleyville did not disappoint and it has become one of the Christmas traditions that I most look forward to each year. Whether I spend it with my family or my fiancé, Bentleyville is always a great time. Bentleyville features many different unique light displays including Noah’s Ark, Dinosaur Land, Sesame Street and more! Bentleyville also features free goodies such as hot chocolate, cookies, popcorn, and toasted marshmallows, if the giant light display wasn’t enough to draw you in.

The only downfall to Bentleyville is the enormous number of people that flood into Duluth to visit the light show. On December 3rd, Bentleyville was packed and so were most of the roads leading into it, so getting downtown and finding a good place to park was time consuming. If you plan on heading to Bentleyville, especially over the weekend, plan on giving yourself plenty of time to drive, find a parking spot, and fighting the crowd to get into and through the beautiful light display. If you’re hoping to beat the crowd, it would be best to visit Bentleyville during the weekdays. Bentleyville opens at 5:00 pm seven days a week.

Bentleyville is well worth all of the road rage it may cause and is definitely something you don’t want to miss out on!