FORT SMITH, Ark. — The 22nd annual Creekmore Park Holiday Express is back, a holiday tradition in Fort Smith.
This year, the park features around 50,000 lights with over 63 displays. Free train rides are also back after not being allowed due to the pandemic, which caused a crowd of thousands to attend the Creekmore Park Holiday Express opening night.
In some years we’ve had 3,000 people show up at this park at one time, said City of Fort Smith Parks and Recreation Director, Doug Reinert.
“You can hardly see a blade of grass because there are so many people walking through the light displays and taking pictures,” Reinert said.
For many, free train rides, popcorn, hot chocolate, and candy canes are expected. However, for newcomers like the Dickson family, this was a sight to see that had them excited.
“I just want to go on the train right hand have a fun time spinning in circles,” said daughter, Emma Dickson ahead of the park 5:30 p.m. opening.
Her father Kevin followed her saying, “I want to see the lights, I’m excited to see the entire park being lit up,” said Kevin Dickson. “There are workers working very hard you can see all the different things they set up. I have a feeling that’s going to look really neat at night.”
Fort Smith Mayor George McGill turned the lights on at Creekmore at 5:30 p.m. with the help of young children. Lighting the sky with all 63 displays.
A sight to see for the community, as many came out to celebrate the holidays. Mayor McGill says the city was glad to provide this event, after a few tough years.
“We’ve experienced a lot over the last two or three years in the River Valley with Covid, flooding, you name it,” said Mayor McGill. “I’m hoping that when we flip the switch tonight it will infuse the spirit of peace throughout the River Valley. Where people can enjoy life and families can celebrate the holidays”
The Holiday Express runs through Dec. 18 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., running daily with the exception of Sundays.
The lights at Creekmore Park will be on display through January 8, 2022.