Christmas in park to be exclusively drive-thru show

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By Dwane Wilder

CARYVILLE—Christmas in the Park will be a little different this year, according to Kim Moore, manager of Cove Lake State Park.

One of Campbell County’s biggest events of the holiday season, Christmas in the Park attracts thousands of people on its traditional date of the first Monday night in December.

Other than a three-year hiatus from 2001-03 because of a state budget crisis, the event has been Caryville’s signature holiday event since 1982.

Moore said the popularity of Christmas in the Park is, ironically, part of the problem.

“The last two years we’ve had complaints from people not getting to experience the whole event,” said Moore. “A lot of people with kids got hung up at the Santa Land exhibit. By the time they got out of there, it was 8:30 p.m., time to close, and they never made it anywhere else.”

To improve traffic flow, Moore said this year that Christmas in the Park will be a drive-thru experience only. Park staff will continue to decorate and turn on the lights just as they always have.

“It’s a decision we made to try and avoid some of these complaints in the future,” said Moore. “The numbers (of people) were probably higher, especially the last couple of years. Good weather brings out bigger numbers.”

Moore also said his staff will continue to tweak Christmas in the Park based on what people want to see as well as traffic flow.

The annual lighting of the 30-foot Christmas tree will take place Dec. 2 at 6 p.m. The lights will burn each night through Jan. 1. 

“We would like to invite the public to take a drive through and experience the decorations during this festive time of year,” said Moore. “Thank you for your past participation and patience as we work through this coming year with anticipation of providing a new experience for all to enjoy.”