The future of East Peoria's Festival of Lights' Winter Wonderland drive-through lighting extravaganza may have been dim earlier this year, but the past weeks have proven a reason for twinkling.
"Generally, this is one of the best years in our history," Dan Cunningham, director of the city's EastSide Centre and tourism, said last week.
Whether the cause is the rainy parade night, mild weather or that the lights are in the best shape they've been in for quite some time, visitors have been abundant.
"On Wednesday night, we had $11,000 revenue come through the gate — that's 1,100 cars in four hours," Cunningham continued, noting as of midweek, Winter Wonderland was some $65,000 in revenue ahead of the same time last year.
"We've done a lot of things differently this year. In the past, we had floats scattered around town at the different areas; this year, we put everything into the park. The lights are better and brighter — we put back the skiers that have not been at the park the past five years — and people responded, overwhelmingly," Cunningham said.
An Iowa man even drove to East Peoria to go through the lights, where he proposed to his girlfriend — using a couple strands of lights no less — Cunningham said. The lights put up near the exit of Winter Wonderland asked, "Lara, will you marry me?"
Bogged down by a lack of volunteers, mechanical breakdowns and overruns in costs, the city questioned residents earlier this year as to whether the Festival of Lights should continue.
The response was a resounding call to continue the tradition.
The city saw a resurgence in volunteers and volunteer labor, which in combination with the more efficient LED lights, has translated into lower costs.
The city also cut its budget to about $240,000 this year. That's compared with about $400,000 last year and as much as $800,000 four and five years ago.
"We've dramatically decreased costs this year. We're going to make this thing pay for itself," Cunningham said, "If it doesn't happen this year, it's because we're going to replace the rest of the incandescent lights," which he said were about 50,000 conventional bulbs remaining in the displays. The park in its entirety has some 1 million lights.
Since 1984, East Peoria has put on one of the most popular holiday parades in the region, with the idea being borrowed from Niagara Falls, N.Y. The East Peoria event, which is set up following the Festival of Lights Parade, annually draws thousands to the static display in Veterans Park.
2012 is almost upon us, and when the ball finally drops in Times Square on New Year's Eve it will be lit up with energy efficient LED lightbulbs.
With the new year ushering a new lighting era, with a new set of efficiency standards being put in place, Philips will be promoting its Luxeon LED lightbulbs via the Times Square ball. In total 32,256 little LED bulbs will be used to help brighten up New Year's Eve in New York.
The bulbs are also commercially available, and according to Philips they consume 80 percent less energy when compared to traditional incandescent lightbulbs.
"We are proud that our award-winning Philips LEDs will again light the spectacular Times Square Ball," Philips Lighting's Ed Crawford said. "But we are equally proud that our line of Philips AmbientLED bulbs continues to expand, enabling consumers to use energy-efficient, cost-friendly, long-lasting, and aesthetically-pleasing lighting throughout their homes."
In general speaking, 12V LED has become more and more affordable, therefore auto LED bulbs have been used widely.