Christmas in the Park kicks off Paducah’s holiday season

A tradition to kick off the holiday season —For the 19th year, the Christmas in the Park display is making Noble Park shine on Friday.

Forty-five displays and a total 500,000 bulbs are lighting up the park. With so many lights, planning out this display takes hard work and commitment.

"I’ve done it for 11 years, and I feel like all these displays are my babies," Former Paducah Power employee  Erich Vierkant said.

Vierkant has been the mind behind the lights each year.

"Most everybody knows me. As soon as they see me, (they say) ‘Hey, when are the lights coming on?’" Vierkant said. 

This year will be his last in that role. He’ll be moving to Elizabethtown with his family, but the tradition will continue.

The lights are more than just show and tradition. They represent hope for a lot of local families in need.

"It’s very important, and they rely very heavily on it." said Andrea Underwood with Paducah Power System.

Underwood says the company uses the display to collect donations that go to area food pantries. Each year, Paducah Power budgets about $22,000 to sponsor the display.

"It’s always been about the community, and giving back to the community, and helping those food pantries that need it so much," Underwood said.

The tradition can continue. Vierkant is passing the reigns to former Paducah Power employee Joe Flowers.

"I don’t know if I trust Joe or not, but I will," Vierkant said with a laugh.

Vierkant did build a parting present, a star with lights, to leave his mark on the display’s future.

"It’s been a great eleven years," Vierkant said. 

You can help by donating any nonperishable food or money donations at the Santa House. It sits on the right of the drive, about a dozen yards from where you enter the park. The display lights up the holiday season through New Year’s Eve from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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