Bentleyville Makes its Return to the Shores of Lake Superior

DULUTH, Minn. —  It’s the night that everyone’s been looking forward to, Bentleyville officially open again, and the festivities began with quite the entrance from Santa Claus himself.

Earlier today, Santa learned how to parachute, so he could safely visit the girls and boys of Bentleyville from the North Pole.

“I’m coming in to open up Bentleyville 2021 to parachute in to see all the boys and girls this year. I can hardly wait i’m so excited for that helicopter to start up,” Santa said.

And people couldn’t wait for the gates to open Saturday night, letting them back in to walk the display after last years was a drive-in style due to ensure social distancing during the pandemic.

“I’m excited that we’ve gone back to the walk through. The drive through was just a quick fix for a season but this is what Bentleyville about just walking through tapping your foot to the music, roasting the marshmallows grabbing the cookies and seeing Santa and all those type of things up close,” Nathan Bentley, Executive Director of Bentleyville said.

For those who have made a tradition out of it, its more meaningful to enjoy the lights around others. .

“The drive through was fun, it was nice to be in the warm vehicle but it doesn’t have the ambiance that it does here this year and I’m so excited that we’re back in person and able to actually be around people again it just makes it a little bit more real,” Dawn Olsen, who was attending with her family, said.

Every year new light displays make their debut, but some are still in awe of the 128 foot tree at the heart of it all.

“I love to watch the tree light up from the inside looking up it’s just got the Bentleyville magic that only happens once a year,” Kenzie Olsen, daughter of Dawn, said.

Volunteers have worked since October 1st getting the event ready. Seeing the public’s faces light up at the lights and hearing their reactions is the ultimate payoff.

“When I have the opportunity to get the chance to talk to them it’s probably my favorite part, listening to them be amazed at Bentleyville at all the lights and the atmosphere, and what it takes to put Bentleyville together and they’re all excited about the volunteers that out this together for them,” Bentley said.

Bentleyville is now open all week through December 27th.

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