UPDATE- Great news for those of us who loved the lights in Kingfisher, they are back on! A group of Kingfisher residents have gotten together to restore this tradition, now under the name Kingfisher Winter Nights. I haven’t been yet to see how many of the old displays are still there but hope to make it soon. Hopefully they have enough visitors to keep the lights on for years to come.
From the time I was a little girl, one of our family Christmas traditions was driving around neighborhoods looking at the Christmas decorations people had put on display. We did this every year, I remember going around Brookhaven in Norman, when almost every house was lit up. We were some of the first to drive around Ski Island, before the crowds got too big that the residents shut it down. Now that I’m older I love the light parks that different cities in the metro have for everyone to drive through. I’ve been going to Midwest City since the first year the lights were turned on, we’ve gone to Yukon so many times they should at least name a light bulb after me, Chickasha is a long drive but a special treat but one that I really liked the best was the one that was the least popular, Kingfisher in Lights.
Not many knew about the Christmas display that the city put on every year in the park since 1996. Everything was east of downtown right off of Highway 33 at the Kingfisher Park. You could park your car, walk to the train station and for a dollar get a ticket to ride the small train through the displays. It was almost always too cold and the lines really long but it was worth the 20 minute ride. Most of the time you would get a seat in the enclosed cars but once we got to sit in the coal tender. Yeah, it was cold but fun. After the train ride, we would then get in the car and idle through the display, seeing everything from a different angle. From the car you could talk to the fire-breathing dragon or watch the angels climb into the air. You could get a better view of the baseball game being played in lights or just count the candy canes along the trails. There was a cute display of a frog eating a fly and another with firemen putting out a fire. Sometimes Santa would be out there, handing out candy to all the kids. After you drove through you could then go back on another road to the the west side of the park and walk across the one hundred year old suspension foot bridge. The bridge was lit with over 1000 white Christmas lights and you could see the creek very clearly from the deck. One year while walking across, I saw something swimming in the water twenty feet below, it was a very large beaver that was making his home in the branches piled up along the small concrete dam. I had seen lots of beavers dead along the side of the road but never out in the water, doing beaver stuff.
The fire-breathing dragon, 2010. (Sorry, didn’t have a good camera at the time.)
Sadly this has all come to an end- in 2014 the lights were canceled because of road construction on Highway 33. You just couldn’t get to the park. I could understand that, I was disappointed but was hoping it would be up again this year. Unfortunately, the display now been closed down for good. Many of the residents of Kingfisher just didn’t have the time to volunteer and put the lights up. So now it’s just a memory just as the one year Guthrie had a display (east of Cottonwood Creek, best I can remember is late 1990’s or very early 2000’s) and Duncan’s display (also in the late 1990’s or early 2000’s). Maybe someday the town will realize they miss it and bring it back.
Uncle John’s Creek bridge in lights, 2001.