Dubuque’s Reflections in the Park continues raising money, dazzling visitors

In tonight's Show You Care spotlight, KCRG-TV9's Cole Krutzfield shows how this holiday light show has been helping people in need for decades.
Published: Nov. 27, 2022 at 11:03 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Gary Gansemer, the former president and CEO of Hillcrest Family Services, said “It started in 1995 as the brainchild of Sharon Faley, and here we are 28 years later and raised over a couple million dollars to benefit Hillcrest. Hillcrest has over 30 different programs, so over 30,000 people each year and people are in need of places in their lives. So all the money that we gained from this helps support those services and make them possible.”

This includes programs like homeless outreach, its wellness center, and Mentor Dubuque.

“There’s a special pride in doing something. So many people have been through. So many people already tonight we’re only an hour into it, we’ve had people from Chicago, even somebody from California who was coming through for the first time. It is amazing, and they got smiles on their faces and they want to know who it’s benefiting,” Gansemer said. “And to be able to share some of the Hillcrest story with people, I’m very grateful.”

“It’s great thanks for the community. Every night people are coming through, said ‘we have made this tradition every Saturday night after Thanksgiving,’” Gansmer continued.

Ed Wulfekuhle, who was visiting with family members, said “we celebrate my wife’s birthday and then we go out to dinner first and then we come here and look at the lights.”

For Gansmer, Reflections in the Park is personal.

“I grew up here in Dubuque and on Christmas, we used to drive down Grandview Avenue when I was a kid to see the lights. And to have people backed up seeing the lights on Grandview Avenue, it brings back many memories and just a really positive feel-good story.”

“It makes you know that your effort was worth it. And like I say, it’s not just our efforts, but there’s the idea of where the money goes to the organization. Hillcrest Family Services is such a great organization, just does your heart good to know that you’re helping them out,” Tom Burke, who has volunteered for around 5 years constructing the displays, said.

It takes a team of roughly 500 volunteers to construct, operate, and tear down Reflections in the Park.

Reflections in the Park will run daily until January 1 from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Louis Murphy Park in Dubuque. Santa will be at Reflections in the Park on Tuesdays until Christmas. It costs $12 per vehicle to enter.

For more information visit their Facebook page.